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News Archives 2005-2006

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Growth, crime make news in 2006
Lantana was a busy place in 2006, and LantanaLinks.com was there to watch it all happen. From the opening of Lantana’s sparkling North Amenity Center in February to the August arrest of a Lantana teen accused of stealing thousands of dollars worth of property, we kept busy covering the ups and downs of our rapidly growing area.

As we celebrate our third birthday and the beginning of another year, we wanted to take a look back at the top Lantana news stories of 2006. We want your input as to which story you think was the biggest. Take a walk down memory lane below then click here to vote. Happy New Year!

The LantanaLinks.com Top News Stories of 2006 list (in no particular order)…

Opening of the Lantana North Amenity Center

Bartonville annexes Lantana Corner retail site

First residents elected to Lantana Fresh Water Supply District #6

Lantana swaps school sites

Shooting in Lantana’s Heritage neighborhood

Lantana to get fire station

Lantana Commons shopping center at FM 407 and Copper Canyon Rd.

Lantana teen charged in major vandalism spree

Verizon Communications finally enters Lantana

Lantana’s HOA dues increase

Town breaks ground on Community Center
Flower Mound Town officials recently held a groundbreaking ceremony for a Community Activity Center. Mayor Jody Smith and Councilmember Tim Trotter participated in the event. The center is scheduled for completion by May 2008 and will include an indoor competitive swimming pool, an outdoor family water park with a lazy river, a gymnasium, a fitness area, an indoor jogging track, and teen, senior, and multipurpose rooms. The center will also host activities and events, such as competitive swim meets, art classes, fitness classes, senior citizen activities, leagues such as basketball and volleyball, dance classes, and sport camps. Comment on this story

Club inducts new officers, Eads named president
From left: Jim Crouch, Andy Eads, Marc Core, Lisa Lyon, David Lehde, and James Harper are sworn into office by Denton County Sheriff Benny Parkey.

The new officers of the Denton County Republican Men’s Club took their oath of office on Jan. 4.

Sworn-in as president was newly-minted Denton County Precinct 4 Commissioner, Andy Eads. “I’m excited about serving,” Eads said. “I was first a member in college and I’ve seen the club grow and change over the years. All Republican clubs serve our citizens by hosting interesting and informational speakers.”

Other new officers are County Criminal Court No. 1 Judge Jim Crouch as Programs Vice President, Lisa Lyon as Membership Vice President, David Lehde as Publicity Vice President, Marc Core as Treasurer and James Harper as Secretary.

The new set of officers took their oath of office before by Denton County Sheriff Benny Parkey. After the ceremony, Sheriff Parkey spoke about the challenges his office faces in light of the rapidly increasing population of the county.

The club meets the first Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. at Sneaky Pete’s on Lake Lewisville. Mettings are open to the public. Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams will be the February speaker. Comment on this story

Car burglaries preventable
Simple prevention could have prevented the rash of vehicle break-ins last month in Lantana, according to Crime Watch Coordinator Shelley Caro. Many of the vehicles burglarized were not locked. The thefts occurred in the Larkspur and Crescent neighborhoods. Residents are encouraged to keep their vehicles locked and valuables out of plain view. Use outdoor security lights or motion detection lighting and store your vehicle in the garage whenever possible. Report any suspicious persons or vehicles in your neighborhood to the Denton County Sheriff’s Office at 972-434-5000. Comment on this story

County officials take their oaths of office
Newly elected and re-elected county officials participated in a swearing-in ceremony on New Year’s Day at the Denton County Courthouse on the Square. County Judge Mary Horn gave the oaths of office to more than two dozen county, judicial and municipal officials elected in November. Among the new faces were Andy Eads, Denton County Commissioner, Precinct 4, and J.W. Hand, Denton County Justice of the Peace, Precinct 4. Comment on this story

Water rates increase
The Lantana Fresh Water Supply District #6 Board of Directors voted unanimously Dec. 19 to raise water rates by an average of 6 percent, effective January 1.

Kevin Mercer, Lantana General Manager, told the board that rising water costs and increasing demand charges warrant a rate adjustment. “Each year, the Upper Trinity Regional Water District has increased our costs and we have absorbed them,” said Mercer. “We have not raised water rates since Lantana started.”

The average water bill will increase by about $3.35 per month. Water rates are tiered based on usage, so residents who use more water will see a higher percentage increase. A typical household in Lantana uses between 15 and 20 thousand gallons per month. See the new rate structure here.

Sewer rates and solid waste collection rates will remain unchanged.

Fresh Water Supply District #7 adopted the same water rates at their Jan. 11 meeting.

The board also approved awarding a construction contract in the amount of $157,140 to install a master irrigation controller to monitor the sprinklers in the common areas. The centralized control system is capable of monitoring irrigation flow limits, as well as air and soil moisture, which is expected to help cut water costs. Comment on this story

City’s retail boom just beginning
Highland Village officials recently reflected on a successful year in terms of economic development, and are looking forward to a bright future. Since October, several new retail stores, restaurants and other businesses have opened their doors, according to Highland Village City Manager Michael Leavitt.

At the Marketplace at Highland Village, T.J. Maxx and Home Goods, Office Depot, Up in Smoke, Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill, LA Fitness, and the Highland Village Police storefront are now open. Ousley Vision Center has opened in the Celebrations Village Center. In the Barnett Center, Rambling Oaks Courtyard Extensive Care Community is now open. Legends Sports Bar and Grill is open in the Tabani Group property at FM 407 and Sellmeyer. In Tartan Square, Rapid Med recently opened. Bessie Mary, Shellman’s Fine Wine & Spirits, Blume, Stoddard & Moore Law Offices and Benchmark Mortgage are now open in Village Creek.

Other new businesses opening soon include: T Mobile, Petco, McAlister’s Deli, Capital One Bank, City Bank, Luxury Nails, Dental Depot and Life’s a Beach Restaurant. Comment on this story

Town asks for audit of Upper Trinity
The Copper Canyon Town Council passed a resolution at their  December meeting asking for an outside audit of the Upper Trinity Regional Water District.

Michael Savoie, Copper Canyon’s representative on the Upper Trinity Board, gave a presentation inferring the District is overbuilding and taking on too much debt. “If Upper Trinity cannot pay the bills, we, the member cities, would be responsible,” Savoie said. He stated that Lantana alone could be responsible for paying off $60 million in debt if things go south for the District.

“It was the usual and discredited allegations about poor governance by the Board of Directors and about the District planning too far ahead,” said Tom Taylor, Executive Director of the Upper Trinity Water District, in a memo posted on their website. “That notion is simply not true and is without merit.” Read more here.

In attendance at the meeting were many guests, including Denton County Commissioner Jim Carter, Commissioner-elect Andy Eads, and Double Oak Mayor Dick Cook. Copper Canyon joins Flower Mound, Double Oak and Krum in asking  for an independent audit of the District. Comment on this stor

Verizon rolls out fiber-optic network
After a couple of false starts, utility subcontractors for Verizon Communications began installing fiber-optic lines in Lantana on Dec. 8.

Construction is underway in the Magnolia, Heritage and Fairlin neighborhoods, and along Lantana Trail near Brenham, with more neighborhoods to follow. See the full construction schedule here.

“Homeowners should be getting door hangers that alert them in advance of our pot holing and fiber boring,” said Verizon spokesman Bill Kula. Residents can also call Kevin Mercer, Lantana General Manager, at 940-728-5050 if they have any concerns during the installation process.

Known as “fiber to the premises”, the network will link homes to Verizon’s high-speed video and Internet service. The lines will be installed in the existing public utility easements. Verizon will place more than 65,000 feet of fiber throughout Lantana to provide service to residents by the middle of next year. Comment on this story

Road improvements underway on FM 2499
The roads around two future shopping centers are getting some improvements. FM 2499 between Dixon Lane and Waketon Rd. is under construction for the installation of two driveways and deceleration lanes. Sidewalks along the west side of FM 2499 will be put in just south of Dixon Lane. Meanwhile, Dixon Lane west of FM 2499 is being widened from two to four lanes. The construction is scheduled to last through the end of the year with temporary lane closures between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Motorists should use caution and be alert to changing traffic conditions. For more information, call 972-874-6310. Comment on this story

Fee hike in store for Lantana
Lantana residents can expect to see an increase in their homeowners association fees next year. After reviewing the 2007 Budget , the Lantana Community Association’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to increase monthly assessments by $20. Dues will increase $10 on January 1, 2007 and an additional $10 on January 1, 2008.

The additional revenue is needed to address the HOA’s increased operating costs, maintenance of new amenities, and an increase in the level of fire and emergency services for the community (See related story below). New amenities added over the past twelve months include the Heritage pool and park and the North Amenity Center, which includes a new fitness center, community room, pool, park and open-air pavilion.

“There is nearly six-million dollars of infrastructure on the ground that the Community Association is responsible for,” said Bruce Crawford, Lantana Community Manager. “The goal is to make sure that the association is fiscally sound when the residents take over.”

The Lantana Covenants allow the board to increase the annual assessment each year by 25% without a vote of the members. This is the first increase in dues since Lantana was established in 2001. Comment on this story

Lantana, ESD come to agreement
An agreement for fire protection has been reached between Denton County, Republic Property Group, and the recently created Denton County Emergency Services District #1.

Under the arrangement, Lantana will contract with the fire district instead of joining the ESD. Denton County will continue to pay a portion of Lantana’s expense for fire and emergency services. The Lantana Community Association is picking up the difference. Republic Property Group contributed a two acre building site on Copper Canyon Road to the Argyle Fire Department for a fire station as part of the deal.

Lantana officials said that if the development had joined the ESD, the average homeowner would pay an additional $162.50 to $325.00 in property taxes per year, based on Lantana’s average appraised home value of $325,000. Comment on this story

School data released
The Texas Education Agency recently released detailed information on every public school in the state. From test scores to class sizes to ethnic breakdown, the agency compiles mounds of data each year. The numbers show a generally healthy environment in southern Denton County’s elementary schools. However, the challenges of rapid growth, changing demographics and managing the expectations of parents, are keeping school officials busy. Click here to see how the elementary schools in our area compare to each other. Comment on this story

ESD Board names officers
Officer elections for the Denton County Emergency Services District Board of Directors were held at the group’s first official meeting on Dec. 7. The following positions were named:

Mike Sanford, President

Jay Haynes, Vice President

Kimberly Cumings, Secretary

Robert Johannesen, Treasurer

Steve Harris, Assistant Treasurer

Attorney Ken Campbell delivered a presentation and answered questions from the ESD Commissioners. The board also decided that regular meetings will be held on the third Thursday of each month. The special taxing district, approved by voters on Nov. 7, is a political subdivision designed to raise money for fire and rescue efforts through property taxes. Comment on this story

Town honors athletes
The Argyle Town Council recognized the achievements of the town’s student athletes and coaches at their December meeting. Officials issued three proclamations, marking December 12, 2006 as:

“Argyle Track and Field Day” in recognition of Kristie Krueger and Colbea Harris, as well as Coach Kathi Olson, and the students of Argyle High School for representing their school and community in the 3A University Interscholastic League State Track and Field Championships.

“Liberty Christian Varsity Girls Volleyball Team Day” honoring the Liberty Christian Warrior Varsity Girls Volleyball Team, their coaches and the students of Liberty Christian for representing their school and community in the TAPPS Division 1 5A Championship Volleyball Game.

“Argyle Eagle Marching Band Day,” recognizing the Argyle Eagles High School Marching Band, their directors, and students of Argyle High School for representing their school and community in the 3A University Interscholastic League State Marching Band Contest. Comment on this story
ESD Board named
A board of directors was named on Nov. 21 to the county’s first Emergency Services District. The Denton County Commissioner’s Court approved the  appointment of five residents, one from each participating jurisdiction.

The new members are:
Dr. Jay Haynes – Argyle
Steve Harris – Bartonville
Robert Johannesen – Canyon Oaks
Kim Cumings – Copper Canyon
Mike Sanford – Northlake

Now that the new board is in place, meetings will be scheduled between ESD board members and the Argyle Fire District board of directors to begin planning for the future growth and capital needs of the district. The initial tax rate is anticipated to be set at 5 cents per $100 in property valuation. “We will be polling citizens and the town councils on the level of service and improvements they would like to see,” Chief Hohenberger said.

The special taxing district, approved by voters on Nov. 7, is a political subdivision designed to raise money for fire and rescue efforts through property taxes. Comment on this story

HV approves new fee
The Highland Village City Council recently approved a new charge of $1.20 per 1,000 square feet of impervious area per household to fund the federally mandated Municipal Drainage Utility System. The average household will pay around $4.91 per month, beginning in February.

In other city business, council members approved a contract with JC Commercial for the construction of the new 12,823 sq. ft. fire station at the southeast corner of Highland Village Road and Brazos Boulevard. Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-December.

Officials also approved the first of two reads of an ordinance regulating gas and oil drilling in the city. Prior to this ordinance, the city did not have laws regulating drilling. The ordinance requires a 1,000 ft. buffer for residential areas and the ability to waive the setback to 600 ft. if specific requirements are met. Comment on this story

Lantana schools one step closer
A land swap between the Denton Independent School District, Republic Property Group and the Rayzor family to consolidate and relocate two school sites in Lantana is one step closer to being completed. The deal involves trading two parcels on Copper Canyon Rd. for a larger school site at the northern end of the community. The 45-acre campus on Hickory Hill Rd. would house both an elementary and middle school.

“The first part is done,” said Dr. Ray Braswell, Denton ISD Superintendent. The school district recently approved to pay $125,000 to Bartonville Water Supply Corporation to give up their right to supply water to the tract. Lantana Fresh Water District #7 will supply water and sewer utilities to the new schools. Negotiations between Republic Property Group and the Rayzor family, primarily over mineral rights, are ongoing. Once that hurdle is cleared, officials will announce a timeline for the new schools.

The land swap will allow both schools to be built simultaneously and most likely open at the same time, according to Teresa Carson of Republic Property Group. Lantana residents will be able to access the campus directly via Stacee Road, which intersects Lantana Trail next to the North Amenity Center. Comment on this story

LantanaLinks.com acquires newspaper
Miller Media Holdings LLC, the parent company of LantanaLinks.com, recently announced the acquisition of The Cross Timbers Gazette newspaper from L.S. Johnson Enterprises, owned by LaRue Johnson of Flower Mound.

“The Cross Timbers Gazette has had a long, successful tradition of serving the communities of southern Denton County, and we plan to continue that tradition,” said Max Miller, Founder and Principal of Miller Media Holdings LLC. “Our primary goal will be to continue the work that LaRue Johnson has done and serve our readers and advertisers with the highest quality community newspaper possible.”

“Max Miller and I have been working together for the past two years, and we share the same commitment to community service and good hometown business values,” said Johnson. “I know that he is the right person to take the Cross Timbers Gazette to the next level.”

The Cross Timbers Gazette, originally called The Double Oak Gazette, was established in 1979, and is mailed monthly to over 8,500 households in Argyle, Bartonville, Copper Canyon, Double Oak, Lantana, Robson Ranch and portions of Flower Mound and Highland Village in affluent southern Denton County.

Miller Media Holdings LLC, based in Lantana, is a private holding company for community-focused interactive and traditional media outlets. The company’s mission is to provide timely community news and information in southern Denton County and offer unparalleled value and customer service to their advertisers. Comment on this story

Teen awaits grand jury
A Lantana teen awaits trial following a crime spree over the summer that could result in up to a 20-year prison term. Sean Jordan, 18, is facing 12 charges, including one count of arson, three counts of burglary of a habitation, seven counts of burglary of a vehicle, and one count of criminal mischief.

An indictment is expected to be handed down by a Denton County grand jury by the end of the year, according to Leeann Breeding from the Denton County District Attorney’s office. Jordan, along with a group of 17-year olds from Flower Mound, was arrested in August following numerous theft and vandalism incidents in Flower Mound and Lantana.

After police searched Jordan’s home and the home of another suspect, approximately $40,000 in property was recovered, Flower Mound police said. Jordan is currently out on $10,000 bail. Comment on this story

Constable patrols commence
The Denton County Constable’s office is now protecting Copper Canyon. The town recently discontinued their partnership with Double Oak’s police force due to budgetary reasons. Constables have the same powers as police officers, and can write tickets, make arrests, conduct investigations, and file criminal charges. 911 emergency calls from Copper Canyon will still go to the Denton County Sheriff, but the constable or a sheriff’s deputy will be dispatched instead of a Double Oak police officer. Comment on this story

Lantana retail area takes shape
A Sonic drive-in restaurant is the first tenant to sign on at the Lantana Commons retail center at FM 407 and Copper Canyon Rd. The shopping center is being developed by Republic Property Group. Deals are also being finalized with a bank and pharmacy. A five acre parcel north of the site may be developed for more retail uses later on. The parcel is located next to the Fairlin addition of Lantana, in Copper Canyon’s extraterritorial jurisdiction. Click here to see the proposed site plan. Comment on this story

Town to start police department
The town of Bartonville is taking the law into their own hands by establishing a police department. Bartonville officials are planning to hire a police chief in February and another full time officer in April. The town’s dedicated Denton County Constable will be phased out by April. Mayor Ron Robertson said that the council had investigated every option for police protection over the past three years while planning for future growth. 911 emergency calls and jail services will be provided by Denton County at no cost to the town, officials said. Bartonville police will receive backup assistance from surrounding police departments and the Sheriff’s Department. Comment on this story

Railroad quiet zones are on fast track
Highland Village is about to leave loud train horns by the wayside. The city is working with Kansas City Southern railroad officials to install wayside horns at all of the crossings in Highland Village. Wayside horns are directional and provide a quieter alternative to locomotive horns because they have a more focused radiation pattern, according to the Association of American Railroads. City officials are reviewing paperwork regarding the installation of the horns and contacting insurance agencies to discuss the coverage required by the railroad. The quieter horns are expected to be installed by next spring. Comment on this story

Mall boasts impressive lineup
Shopaholics are licking their chops, as leasing agents busily secure commitments from upscale retailers and restaurants at The Shops at Highland Village. The $95 million open-air mall is going up just two miles from Lantana, at the northwest corner of FM 407 and FM 2499.

Regency Centers officials met with Sue Thompson, Highland Village Community Development Manager, recently and provided an update on tenants with signed leases.

Here is a preliminary tenant list (signed tenants in bold):
Aéropostale Houlihan’s Restaurant
AMC Theaters James Avery Jewelry
American Eagle Jos. A Bank
Ann Taylor Kay Jewelers
Ann Taylor Loft Lenscrafters
Aveda Limited Too
Banana Republic Luna De Noche Grill
Barnes & Noble Mark Samuels
Bath & Body Works Mi Cocina
Ben & Jerry’s New York & Company
Board Room Salon Omaha Steaks
Bravo Restaurant Pac Sun
Bright Start Patrizio Restaurant
Campania Piccomolo Ice Cream
Chico’s Potbelly Sandwiches
Children’s Place Rockfish Grill
Cho Taylor Ruby
Claire’s Shoe Pavilion
Club Monaco Snuffer’s Restaurant
Coldwater Creek Soma
Coldwater Creek Spa Sprint/Nextel
Delia’s Starbucks
Eddie Bauer Sunglass Hut
Elizabeth Swoozie’s
Eye Masters Talbot’s
Finish Line Victoria’s Secret
Francesca’s White House/Black Market
Fuddruckers
Gymboree Williams Sonoma
Zales
Source: City of Highland Village and UCR Urban website

“This is a true lifestyle center because of the quality of tenants, however it’s also a town center project because it’s set up like a town square in that the tenants are within walking distance and common gathering areas are incorporated throughout,” said Jack O’Brien of O’Brien and Associates, the architect for the development. The 385,000 square foot shopping, dining, entertainment and office center is expected to open in August 2007. Comment on this story

Crime watch participation urged
The newly-formed Lantana Crime Watch got off to a good start with their first meeting recently. But coordinator Shelley Caro wants all of Lantana’s neighborhoods to participate. Captains and Co-Captain’s are needed for the following neighborhoods:

Camden
Carlisle
Dakota
Fairlin
Larkspur
Laviana
Meridian
Sierra
Telea

Participants should first assemble a list of volunteers from their neighborhood, then elect a Captain and Co-Captain, said Caro. The group should map the area they will cover and write down each resident’s name, house number, telephone number and make of their vehicles. Finally, the Captain and Co-Captain should e-mail Caro with their subdivision name and contact information. Comment on this story

City hosts meeting of area mayors
Denton Mayor Perry McNeill hosted a meeting of area mayors earlier this month to discuss regional issues and explore opportunities for cities to cooperate on providing public services. Mayors and city representatives from 21 municipalities attended the conference, including Aubrey, Bartonville, Copper Canyon, Cross Roads, Double Oak, Flower Mound, Highland Village, Krugerville, Oak Point, Pilot Point and Shady Shores.

The group discussed federal and state legislative issues, interlocal cooperative agreements and utility cooperation. Some of the concerns that the mayors would like to present to state and federal representatives include appraisal caps, zoning changes, special taxing districts similar to the Lantana development, control over rights-of-way, building permitting and inspections in extraterritorial jurisdictions, gas well drilling, and the expansion of I-35.

The mayors also talked about opportunities that their cities could pursue to share services and achieve cost savings. Possibilities included sharing police and fire services, purchasing supplies, sharing equipment, mutual disaster aid, sharing gas well inspectors, municipal water, wastewater disposal, the creation of an underground water district, and teaming up on solid waste issues.

The mayors agreed to continue meeting and to form committees to research issues of common interest to area cities. “My hope is that we can begin to work collaboratively on various issues that will result in cost savings, and a more efficient and effective government for area residents,” said Mayor McNeill. Comment on this story

Lake Lewisville bridge contract awarded
The North Texas Tollway Authority Board of Directors recently awarded a $93 million contract for construction of the Lewisville Lake Toll Bridge, which will connect Swisher Road in Lake Dallas to Eldorado Parkway in Little Elm. The bridge will provide commuters a new east-west corridor through Denton County between I-35E and the Dallas North Tollway.

Scheduled to open to traffic in 2009, the 1.7-mile bridge will provide a vital link for the 13.8-mile corridor, which is a joint project with Denton County, the NTTA, TxDOT and local municipalities. The four-lane bridge will be the only tolled portion in the corridor.

The estimated cost for the bridge project is $122.2 million, which includes $29 million for the toll plaza and toll collection systems; design, construction management and administrative costs. The entire Lewisville Lake Corridor Project, including the approaching roadways built by Denton County and TxDOT in conjunction with the municipalities of Lake Dallas, Little Elm and Frisco, is estimated to cost $211 million. Comment on this story

Emergency Services District approved
Residents in Argyle, Bartonville, Copper Canyon, Corral City and Northlake voted on Nov. 7 to establish the county’s first Emergency Services District to fund the Argyle Volunteer Fire Department. The special taxing district is a political subdivision established by voters to raise money for fire and rescue efforts through property taxes.

“We need the ESD to keep up with growth…all of our towns are experiencing it, and with growth comes higher demands for services. An ESD means stability, which means better service to our citizens,” said Argyle Fire Chief Hohenberger. The fire district serves Lantana, Argyle, Bartonville, Copper Canyon, Corral City and Northlake, as well as other parts of unincorporated Denton County. Comment on this story

FM 2499 project begins
The long-awaited project to widen FM 2499 in Flower Mound is underway. During the next 20 months, road crews will add two lanes to the center median of FM 2499, resulting in a six-lane divided thoroughfare from Spinks Road to FM 1171. Flower Mound and Denton County are providing the funding, while TxDOT is administering the contract and overseeing the project.

Crews are working at the southern end of the project near Spinks Road and will progress northward. Workers began by re-striping the section of FM 2499 between Spinks Road and FM 3040 to saw cut the pavement and to make room for traffic barriers. Temporary lane closures will be in effect during the project, however, no lane closures will occur during rush hours, officials said. Comment on this story

Police bust drug dealer next to school
Denton Police busted a crack house next door to McMath Middle School on Oct. 11. Two people were arrested at an apartment in the 600 block of Londonderry Lane after an investigation. Police recovered drugs and a 9mm handgun during the raid. No students from the school were involved in the drug deals, police said. Due to its proximity to the school, the apartment is in a drug-free zone. Comment on this story

Town officials try to woo retailers
Copper Canyon officials were in San Antonio last month making connections at the International Council of Shopping Centers conference. Mayor Sue Tejml and Town Administrator Paulette Hartman are looking for quality commercial developers for 150 acres zoned for retail that the town has along FM 407. Representatives from over 90 national retailers were on hand for the event at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. Comment on this story

Police to impound uninsured vehicles
The city of Denton is joining other municipalities in North Texas by cracking down on drivers who don’t have auto insurance. Police will now tow uninsured vehicles involved in traffic violations and accident investigations. Vehicles impounded for insurance violations will not be released back to the owner until current proof of insurance is provided and towing fees are paid. Lewisville, Plano, Arlington, Irving, Desoto, Mesquite and Haltom City have recently implemented similar towing policies. Comment on this story

Fiber provider gets the green light
A Denton County judge had the last word after more than a year of wrangling between two high-speed Internet providers over access to Lantana’s easements.

Grande Communications filed a lawsuit in July that halted the rollout of Verizon Communications fiber-optic network in Lantana. A judge recently denied Grande’s injunction request, which clears the way for Verizon to proceed with their fiber-to-the-premises project in Lantana, according to Verizon spokesman Bill Kula.

At issue was an agreement that allowed Grande, the incumbent broadband provider, to restrict access to Lantana’s public utility easements. Grande’s former owner, Co-Serv, ponied up millions of dollars in infrastructure costs to Lantana’s developer, Republic Property Group, when the community was being developed. In return, the easements in Lantana were granted exclusively to Grande for a period of 20 years.

As Verizon prepares to begin the installation of fiber-optic lines in Lantana, Grande is upgrading their network by rolling out cable modem Internet access in addition to their existing high-speed DSL service. Comment on this story

Agency names safest cities
The Texas Department of Public Safety recently released the 2005 Crime in Texas Report, and Highland Village has the honor of being the safest city in North Texas for the 5th consecutive year. The rankings are for cities with a population of over 10,000. Flower Mound came in third place, while Denton County made the ninth spot. See the full list here. The statistics are based on a crime rate per 100,000 people, which is the standard for comparing crime rates across the country. Comment on this story

Large mixed-use project announced
A locally based partnership is developing 1.6 million square feet of retail, entertainment, hotel, restaurant and office space at the I-35W and FM 1171 interchange in southern Denton County. Trophy Design and Development Associates is bringing a 150-acre “Main Street” mixed-use development to the growing town of Northlake, just west of Flower Mound. The open-air lifestyle center will have a historic town square feel and feature a central plaza with shops, restaurants and distinctive fountains, according to a press release issued by the company. Leasing will be handled by Argyle resident and Realtor Dave Lucas, who also brokered the land deal. The property is located two miles from Texas Motor Speedway and minutes from the Alliance development. Comment on this story

FM 407 curve work slated to begin soon
TxDOT officials said recently that the long-anticipated project to widen FM 407 from Briarhill Boulevard to FM 1830 is scheduled to begin in mid-2009. However, work on the Bartonville curve may begin as early as this spring, according to Lantana officials. The new section of FM 407 by the Lantana water tower will bypass the current four-way stop. Republic Property Group is donating the land to TxDOT, which will speed up the road project and allow Republic to begin marketing their Lantana Corner retail center to prospective tenants. The interim road improvements include a left-turn lane on southbound FM 407 at Rayzor Road, which will assist traffic accessing E.P. Rayzor Elementary School in Lantana. Comment on this story

Town makes change of guard
There is a new sheriff in town. Copper Canyon is no longer sharing Double Oak’s police force due to budgetary reasons. Denton County Deputy Constable Trevor Krueger will patrol the town for 40 hours a week. “His hours will vary, so that his routine is not predictable,” said Copper Canyon Mayor Sue Tejml. 911 emergency calls will still go to the Denton County Sheriff, but the constable or a sheriff’s deputy will be dispatched instead of a Double Oak police officer. Comment on this story

Crime watch meeting held
Lantana’s first crime watch meeting for neighborhood captains was held on Oct. 12 at the North Amenity Center. Denton County Sheriff’s Crime Prevention Deputy Leslie Willingham gave the residents an overview of their responsibilities and introduced some of the deputies that patrol Lantana. Heritage resident Shelley Caro organized the event. Click here for a list of each neighborhood’s crime watch leaders. Comment on this story

Stormwater rates increase
Flower Mound recently established new stormwater rates that will provide the required funding to comply with Texas Commission on Environmental Quality regulations for stormwater management. On average, residential rates will increase from $1.50 to $3.65 per month and commercial rates will increase from $10 to $27.50 per month. A 17 percent rate discount will be given to all residential and commercial properties that are served by a stormwater detention facility. The new rates will appear on utility bills beginning November 1. For more information, call the Town’s Utility Billing Office at 972-874-6010. Comment on this story

Area officials meet with federal representatives
Local elected officials and members of the Flower Mound and Denton chambers of commerce traveled to Washington D.C. recently to attend the Denton County Chamber of Commerce “Washington D.C. Fly-In” at the invitation of U.S. Congressman Michael Burgess. Among those making the trip were Highland Village Mayor Dianne Costa, Flower Mound Mayor Jody Smith, Lewisville Mayor Gene Carey and Denton Mayor Perry McNeill.

Mayor Dianne Costa and Highland Village area officials had the opportunity to meet with U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. Among other topics, Mayor Costa stressed the importance of opening DFW Airport to allow a direct flight to China, which will have a positive economic impact to the DFW Metroplex and the city of Highland Village with many residents employed at DFW Airport.

Immigration reform was discussed as Congress considers immigration options and also debates the rights of detainees. Since immigration is a federal issue, local officials emphasized that the first step to resolving the problem is securing the nation’s borders.

Additional meetings were held with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Sen. John Cornyn, Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana – co-author of the proposed Pence-Hutchison Act immigration legislation, Rep. Henry Bonilla and Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas. U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson answered questions on the impact of the global economy and the role of the treasury, and also addressed banking concerns. Other topics addressed by the delegation included transportation issues, funding for commuter rail, economic development and energy. Comment on this story

School board names replacement
The Denton School Board has appointed Jeanetta Smith to the board seat held by her late husband, Dr. Sterling Smith. Dr. Smith, who died on Aug. 19 in a mountain-climbing expedition near Aspen, Colorado, had defeated three-term incumbent Rick Woolfolk in Place 2 of the Denton ISD Board of Trustees in May. Place 2 covers the fast-growing southern section of the district, including Lantana. Jeanetta Smith has previously served in teaching and administration positions in the Denton ISD. Smith will hold the seat until the May 2007 election. Comment on this story

HV police probing car burglaries
Highland Village police are investigating a rash of burglaries to as many as seven vehicles on the east side of town. The break-in’s occurred in the early morning of Oct. 7 in the vicinity of Sellmeyer, Highland Meadows and Redwood. Although no arrests have been made, some of the personal belongings and valuables taken from vehicle burglaries in Highland Village and Flower Mound have been recovered, according to police. Detectives are also following up on leads in Fort Worth, where a stolen credit card was used shortly after the burglaries. Residents are encouraged to keep their vehicles locked and valuables out of plain view. Use outdoor security lights or motion detection lighting and store your vehicle in the garage whenever possible. Report any suspicious persons or vehicles in your neighborhood to the Highland Village Police at 972-317-6551. Anonymous crime tips can be left on the HVPD Crime Tip Line at 972-317-TIPS. Comment on this story

Lantana in region’s most affluent area
Lantana residents live in one of the most affluent areas of Denton County, according to figures from the Dallas Business Journal Book of Lists. The 76226 zip code, which also includes Argyle and Bartonville, has a median home value of $297,405. In Lantana, the average home is appraised at $270,227, up from $254,917 last year. The median household income for the area is $101,433. Lantana and the surrounding area ranked 11th overall in North Texas and second in Denton County, behind Flower Mound’s 75022 zip code. Comment on this story

New shopping center almost ready
Businesses are opening their doors at the Marketplace at Highland Village shopping center on the northeast corner of FM 407 and FM 2499. Office Depot, HomeGoods and TJ Maxx are now open. LA Fitness, Capital One, Applebee’s and Citibank are currently under construction. The city recently issued building permits to a cigar shop called Up in Smoke and to the Highland Village Police Department for a substation. Several permits are pending, including Petco and the much anticipated Wal-Mart Supercenter, which is slated to open next summer. The city also recently received plans for McAlister’s Deli. Comment on this story

Police make arrest in water theft case
Highland Village Police arrested a man for allegedly hooking into the city’s water connection illegally. Duncan Duvall, 53, of Highland Village was arrested on Oct. 3 for theft of service between $1,500 and $20,000, a state jail felony. He was later released after posting $7,500 bond. City officials were made aware of the unauthorized connection to their water service at the Double Tree Ranch, 310 Highland Village Road, on September 15. The case has been turned over to the Denton County District Attorney’s Office for further review, according to city officials. Comment on this story

Fire scorches five acres
A brush fire in Copper Canyon kept area fire crews busy on Sept. 26. The blaze was reported around 4:30 p.m. near Briar Grove Court, between Jernigan Rd. and Chinn Chapel Rd. As the fire spread over five acres, several nearby homes were threatened, but good planning by residents helped keep their homes out of harm’s way. “Several years ago, the homeowners built a fire break,” said Argyle Fire Chief Mac Hohenberger. Crews from Double Oak and Flower Mound helped Argyle fight the blaze. Authorities cleared the scene by 7 p.m. No injuries were reported. Comment on this story

Lantana board passes budget, tax rate
The Board of Directors for Lantana Fresh Water District #6 unanimously voted on Sept. 21 to approve the district’s $3.98 million budget for 2006-2007, while approving a property tax rate equal to the current rate of $1.00 per $100 of valuation. The new tax rate includes 9 cents for maintenance and operations and 91 cents for debt service. The majority of the district’s expenditures, $3.3 million, are related to paying off municipal bonds.

Here are Lantana’s new tax rates at a glance:Denton County          $    0.232
Denton Independent School District   $      1.76
Lantana Fresh Water District  $      1.00
Total  $    2.99

This tax year, the average home in the district appraised for $270,227, up from $254,917 last year. As of Aug. 31, there were 1,334 occupied homes in District #6. The total tax value of property in the district is $382 million. District #6 covers all of Lantana, except for Phase 3 of the Magnolia section, the new Isabel neighborhood and other undeveloped areas of the community.  Comment on this story

Water issues may delay Lantana schools
In order to avoid delays in building new schools to serve Lantana and the surrounding area, Denton ISD officials asked the Bartonville Water Supply Corporation to release the land where the schools are to be located.

Dr. Ray Braswell, Denton ISD Superintendent, addressed members of BWSC on Sept. 18. He said that unless the site is annexed out of BWSC territory, higher construction costs would jeopardize the proposed fall 2008 opening for a new elementary and middle school. The cost of bringing water to the site would be $680,000 under BWSC, compared to $11,457 if the water company releases the acreage and Republic Property Group oversaw the project, said Dr. Braswell.

The 45-acre campus site on Hickory Hill Road was acquired by Republic last year. Lantana’s original 1,780 acres were annexed out of Bartonville Water in 2000. Lantana buys its water directly from the Upper Trinity Regional Water District. Denton ISD needs an answer from BWSC soon, as it is facing a mid-October deadline to file paperwork for the new schools. Residents in the Denton school district are encouraged to contact members of the Bartonville Water Supply Corporation to show their support for a quick resolution to the issue. Comment on this story

New stoplights coming soon
Flower Mound officials have gotten the green light from the Texas Department of Transportation to install two new traffic signals on FM 1171. The stoplights will go up at the FM 1171/High Road and FM 1171/Flower Mound Road intersections. “We are shooting for the end of October, but it could run into November depending on the timing of approvals by TxDOT on the design and our ability to have a contractor move in on the project in a timely manner,” said Kent Collins, Town Engineer. Meanwhile, TxDOT is preparing to begin the widening of FM 1171 to a six-lane divided highway from FM 2499 to I-35W. Comment on this story

Builder satisfaction survey released
Highland Homes ranks highest in customer satisfaction among Lantana builders, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 New-Home Builder Customer Satisfaction Study.

The average customer satisfaction index score in Dallas/Ft. Worth is 119. Pulte Homes took the top spot overall in North Texas. Following Pulte in the rankings were Centex, Horizon Homes – Highland’s sister company, Fox & Jacobs, and Darling Homes. Grand Homes score dropped to 87 points this year from 99 in 2005, coming in last place.

Here are the Lantana builders rankings:Builder Score
Highland 130
Drees Custom 129
David Weekley 128
DFW Average 119
Sotherby 117
Landstar 110
Grand 87

The study is based on 10 factors that drive overall satisfaction: Builder’s warranty/customer service; home readiness; builder’s sales staff; construction manager; quality of workmanship/materials; price/value; physical design elements; builder’s design center; recreational facilities; and location.

“As builders fight for every sale they close in this downturned market, a reputation for customer satisfaction becomes more important than ever, as it helps builders differentiate themselves from the competition,” said J.D. Power spokesperson Paula Sonkin.

In addition to the intense market conditions faced by builders, the number of construction problems experienced
by new-home buyers is on the rise. The study finds that the typical North Texas buyer experiences an average of 12 problems with their new home. The most frequently occurring construction problems involve landscaping, heating and air conditioning, and kitchen plumbing.

The study is based on responses from 5,147 buyers of newly built single-family homes who provided feedback after living in their homes from four to 18 months, on average. To be included in the study, builders must have closed 150 or more homes in the market in 2005. Comment on this story

Verizon expands FiOS TV
Verizon Communications Inc. has expanded the availability of its FiOS TV service to another town in southern Denton County. Double Oak residents will soon be able to subscribe to the company’s fiber-optic-based TV service. Verizon is currently offering their services, which include voice, Internet and television services, in Flower Mound, Highland Village and Lewisville. The company is in the process of building out their all-fiber network in Argyle, Bartonville and Copper Canyon. Comment on this story

Traffic issues at school examined
Officials from Highland Village and the Lewisville Independent School District met recently to discuss the ongoing traffic problems at Heritage Elementary School. The daily crush of traffic at the school, located on Barnett Blvd. north of FM 407, has become a major safety issue during the past few years. Access to the school, congestion on Tartan Trail, cars blocking the fire lanes and overall student safety were discussed. The group agreed that MacMurray Trail will remain closed, and that the school will distribute information to parents on proposed staged pick up and drop off times to help relieve traffic congestion. School officials will also continue to encourage students to ride the bus. Current statistics show that while a majority of students ride the bus to school, there are still nearly 200 students that are dropped off by their parents on a daily basis. Comment on this story
Town holds the line on tax rate
The Copper Canyon Town Council voted unanimously Sept. 18 to maintain their current property tax rate of $0.17027 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation. Only 41% of total revenues come from property taxes, according to a town spokesperson. The remaining 59% of revenues come from franchise fees, permit fees, sales taxes, municipal court revenue and other sources. Copper Canyon’s property tax rate is the lowest in southern Denton County. Comment on this story

New neighborhood announced
Lantana’s latest neighborhood has been announced by developer Republic Property Group. The new section, to be called Brazos, will be located on the south side of Branch Crossing, across the street from Magnolia. Dallas-based Altura Homes will build in the new section. Lot sizes and home style will be the same as the Wisteria neighborhood. Home sales should begin by late summer 2007. Comment on this story

Rabid bat found at middle school
A bat found on the football field on Sept. 19 at Downing Middle School has tested positive for rabies, according to Flower Mound officials. No children were exposed to the bat, officials said. This is the first reported case of rabies in Flower Mound this year. Two cases were reported in 2005. All dogs and cats are required to receive annual rabies vaccinations. Although the law does not require livestock vaccination, immunizations are also available for horses and livestock. Residents are advised to not approach wild animals, especially those exhibiting erratic or unusual behavior. Direct contact with a wild animal by a human or pet should be reported immediately. For more information, call Animal Services at 972-874-6390. Comment on this story

School enrollment climbs
How would you like to be in charge of 125 kindergartners? The staff at E.P. Rayzor Elementary in Lantana knows exactly what it feels like. The latest enrollment figures for the school show a total of 736 students. Here is the breakdown:
Grade K 1 2 3 4 5
Enrollment 125 132 133 105 122 119

 

As of August 28, the Denton ISD recorded 19,630 students, which represents a nine percent increase compared to last year. Enrollment at the district’s elementary schools stood at 10,351, with the largest growth in kindergarteners. “Enrollment usually peaks in early October,” said Sharon Cox, communications director for the Denton ISD.

With the southern sector of the district growing so fast, school officials are planning new schools near Lantana. “We are anticipating building a new elementary and middle school in the Lantana area to possibly open for the 2008-2009 school year,” said Cox. Based on current trends, school officials estimated that district enrollment will be at 36,000 by the 2015-2016 school year. Comment on this story

Developer meets with town officials
The Argyle Town Council heard a presentation by McGinnis Real Estate Sept. 12 regarding the proposed Canyon Falls master-planned community. Officials from McGinnis told the council that they would like to establish a Fresh Water Supply District, similar to Lantana, and tie into the Trinity River Authority wastewater system. “They are located in our extraterritorial jurisdiction and don’t need to get our approval for the district,” said Argyle Mayor Richard Tucker. McGinnis is not requesting Argyle to annex them, in order to keep their tax rate lower, Tucker added. The 1,200 acre proposed development sits partially in Northlake, Argyle and Flower Mound, and may include up to 3,000 homes, as well as retail, office and multifamily development. Comment on this story

Authorities seek owners of stolen property
As the Denton County District Attorney sorts out numerous felony charges against four area teens, Flower Mound police are trying to return thousands of dollars worth of stolen items to their rightful owners. See related story. Police have linked several Lantana burglaries that happened this summer to the teens. Three of the incidents in Lantana occurred on July 24, according to authorities. In the 700 block of Terrace Dr. in Sierra, suspects took a laptop, cell phone and golf clubs. A portable DVD player and CD’s were stolen in the 8400 block of Jefferson Way in Heritage, and an iPod and iPod speakers were nabbed in the 700 block of Skyler in Brenham. Crime victims in Lantana and Flower Mound are encouraged to call the Criminal Investigations Division at 972-874-3315. Comment on this story

New home permits slip in county
The pace of home building in Denton County has slowed this year, according to data from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. The county is on track to issue 3,379 single-family building permits in 2006, compared to 3,816 last year. The 11% drop in new home permits has not hurt housing prices. Values have increased 5% over 2005, with the average new home in Denton County valued at $193,386. The median price for an existing home in the county is $166,900. Comment on this story

Fire at golf course under investigation
The Flower Mound Fire Department is investigating a suspicious fire that occurred in the 4900 block of Bridlewood Blvd. on Sept. 10. Authorities responded to a chemical fire at a water treatment building for the Bridlewood Golf Course just before 6 p.m. The fire was confined to a drum containing 700 pounds of sulfur. No evacuations were required during the blaze, but residents in the area were told to remain in their homes and to keep their windows closed as a safety precaution. Assisting Flower Mound were the city of Irving Hazmat Team, Denton County Emergency Services, the Lewisville, Grapevine, Double Oak and Argyle Fire Departments and the American Red Cross. The fire was contained by 9:30 p.m. No injuries were reported. Comment on this story

County, school tax rates drop
The good news is that the overall property tax rate in Lantana is going down. But most homeowners will not see any relief, due to rising assessed property values.

The Denton County Commissioners Court recently voted to lower the county’s tax rate from 24.65 to 23.19 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. Meanwhile, Denton ISD officials dropped their tax rate by 10 cents, to $1.76 per $100 of value. School districts statewide have lowered their property taxes as mandated by the recently-passed school finance legislation. “Another decrease is projected for next year, which will be year two of the new law,” said Denton ISD Superintendent Ray Braswell. The final piece of the tax puzzle is Lantana’s Fresh Water Supply District tax rate, which remains at $1.00 per $100 of value.

Here are Lantana’s current and new tax rates at a glance: 2006
2007

Denton County          $ 0.246   $    0.232
Denton Independent School District   $    1.86   $      1.76
Lantana Fresh Water District  $    1.00   $      1.00
Total  $    3.11   $      2.99
Comment on this story

Commission recognizes DCTA
The North Texas Commission recently presented its 8th Annual Transportation Excellence Award in Mobility to the Denton County Transportation Authority and to its chairman, Charles Emery. “Charles has been a tireless supporter and practitioner of regional cooperation, faithfully participating in meetings of the Dallas Regional Mobility Coalition, Regional Transportation Council and Tarrant Regional Transportation Coalition,” according to Vic Suhm, North Texas Commission senior consultant. Emery, a sixth generation Denton County resident, has held the position of board chairman of the DCTA since 2002. He also serves as vice chairman of the Denton County Economic Development Commission, and sits on the boards of the Denton County Housing Finance Corporation, Lewisville Economic Development Foundation, and the Lewisville Industrial Development Corporation. The initial capital project of the DCTA is a regional rail line that will connect Denton, Highland Village, and Lewisville with the Dallas Area Rapid Transit rail service in Carrollton. Comment on this story

Police nab juveniles for golf course vandalism
The Flower Mound Police Department arrested seven teens on Sept. 7 in connection with $9,800 in vandalism at Bridlewood Golf Club that occurred between August 9 and August 20. Police said the juveniles face felony and misdemeanor charges of criminal mischief. After being arrested, all but one of the teens were released into the custody of their parents. The offenses included damage to a large tent, restroom, a golf green, coolers, and rakes. The juveniles are not related to an incident involving an explosive device that was detonated on the number 9 golf green, which is still under investigation. Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Flower Mound Police Department. Comment on this story

City eases water restrictions
Highland Village has joined Flower Mound in relaxing their water conservation restrictions. Effective immediately, the city has discontinued Phase 2 Water Management. Phase 1 Water Conservation is still active until September 30. Under Phase 1, no outside watering is allowed between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., with the exception of hand watering of shrubbery. “After an initial adjustment period, residents complied with Phase 2 restrictions which, coupled with the brief rainfall and lower temperatures, has allowed us to discontinue Phase 2,” said Public Works Director Matthew Kite. Comment on this story

Teens linked to Lantana burglaries
Flower Mound Police said that the arrests made on Aug. 30 in a teen crime spree are linked to at least 10 car and home burglaries in Lantana. See related story. After police searched two of the suspects homes, one in Lantana and one in Flower Mound, approximately $40,000 in property was recovered. Several days after the arrests were made, police had received 120 calls from area residents inquiring about the stolen property. Crime victims in Lantana and Flower Mound are encouraged to call the Criminal Investigations Division at 972-874-3315. At least three more arrests are expected in the case, police said. Comment on this story

Development population numbers released
Over 4,350 people now call Lantana home, according to data released by the Lantana Community Association. The numbers show an average of 3.31 people per housing unit. The top five most populous neighborhoods were: Larkspur, with 185 occupied homes, Sandlin (149), Magnolia (136), Crescent (122), and Laurel (115). Meanwhile, there were just four occupied homes in the new Dakota neighborhood. As of July 31, a total of 1,515 new home permits had been issued since the development was established in 2001. Comment on this story

4 teenagers charged in vandalism spree
Flower Mound Police arrested four teens on Aug. 30, including an 18-year old from Lantana, on felony charges following a two month investigation of 30 offenses ranging from theft to arson.

Sean Jordan, 18, of Lantana, and Kenneth D. Rawls, Matthew Patrick and James Thompson of Flower Mound, all 17-year olds, surrendered to the Flower Mound Police Department on separate felony charges of arson. Additional charges of burglary of habitation, burglary of vehicles, criminal mischief, prohibited weapons and thefts have been referred to the Denton County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution. All four teens were later released on $10,000 bail.

The investigation cleared 30 criminal cases in Flower Mound, resulting in over $54,000 in property damage and an estimated $50,000 in stolen property. After police searched Jordan’s home in Lantana and Rawls’ home and vehicle, approximately $40,000 in property was recovered, police said. Watch a video news report on the crime spree here. Police said that three more teens may be involved. The case is still under investigation. Comment on this story

Town loosens water restrictions
Flower Mound officials recently rescinded Phase 2 of their water use regulation plan immediately and return to Stage 1 restrictions. Under Stage 1, watering is not allowed between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily for all commercial and residential customers. The looser restrictions will remain in effect until September 30. Comment on this story

Fire Department receives grant
The Double Oak Volunteer Fire Department recently received a check for $18,500 from the CoServ electric/gas company as part of a grant for non-profit organizations. The fire department applied for the grant to fund their project for a second brush truck to better respond to grass fires. With the grant money, the DOVFD will be able to fully equip the donated truck and chassis they received through the Texas Forest Service earlier this year. The Flower Mound Fire Department donated the truck to the Forest Service when they replaced it with a newer vehicle. Comment on this story

Church to build memorial
Trietsch Memorial United Methodist Church in Flower Mound is raising money for a Veterans Memorial. The memorial will be built behind the church, on Eastglen Drive, just north of Dixon Road near Marcus High School. Renderings of the memorial show a monument surrounded by flags representing the United States, the State of Texas and the five branches of service. Surrounding the memorial will be walkways with inscribed bricks honoring veterans. Click here to learn how you can contribute. The church hopes to have the memorial completed by Veterans Day this November. Comment on this story

Free ride on Highway 121 to continue
Gov. Rick Perry recently announced that motorists can continue to drive on State Highway 121 in Denton County without paying tolls for another few months. The state has to test the toll equipment on Highway 121 from north of Denton Creek to FM 2281 before the toll rates begin, Transportation officials said. “To ensure that all tolling equipment works properly, we are having a soft opening for the SH 121 toll road,” said Robert Brown, P.E., deputy district engineer of the TxDOT Dallas District. “We want to make sure that all errors and issues are resolved before we initiate tolling.” Texas Transportation Commission Chairman Ric Williamson said that tolls on Highway 121 might not commence until early next year. Comment on this story

Center announces new tenants
Transwestern Commercial Services has announced the addition of two tenants for Arbor Crossing, a new strip shopping center being built on the southeast corner of FM 2499 and Dixon Lane in Flower Mound. Nicole’s Day Spa, an upscale full service spa, and Mattress Pro, a bedding retail store, have signed leases in the 20,000 square-foot retail center. Nicole’s Day Spa has existing locations in Southlake and Frisco Town Square. Arbor Crossing will also feature a Guaranty Bank, a yet-to-be-named pizza restaurant and other neighborhood retail shops. Comment on this story

Town receives first application for well
Copper Canyon, welcome to the Barnett Shale boom. The first application to drill a gas well in Copper Canyon was submitted recently by Trio Consulting & Management, LLC, according to Mayor Sue Tejml. The well site is located north of Orchid Hill Lane, just east of the railroad tracks. Once the application has been reviewed by the town’s staff, it will be scheduled for consideration by the Council, possibly as soon as the September 11th meeting, said Tejml. Trio Consulting is based in Wichita Falls, Texas and has operated numerous wells in Denton County. “Fortunately for our town, Trio has a long and respected history as a very safe and diligent operating company,” said Tejml. Comment on this story

Resident pushing for crime watch
As an area grows, typically so does the crime rate. One concerned Lantana resident hopes to take a proactive approach by starting a neighborhood crime watch. Heritage resident Shelley Caro is heading up the effort, in conjunction with the Denton County Sheriff’s Department, and needs volunteers from all over Lantana to join. “The first few steps are pretty simple and I am hoping we get a great response,” Caro said.

Participants should first assemble a list of volunteers from their neighborhood, then elect a Captain and Co-Captain, said Caro. The group should map the area they will cover and write down each resident’s name, house number, telephone number and make of their vehicles. Finally, the Captain and Co-Captain should e-mail Caro with their subdivision name and contact information. She needs the information by September 30th. A Crime Watch meeting will then be scheduled for all of the leaders of each neighborhood. Comment on this story

Lewisville school trustees cut taxes
The Lewisville ISD completed the sale of $243.6 million of school refunding bonds that will result in saving taxpayers millions over the next several years, school officials said recently. The refunding will save taxpayers in the LISD more than $17.3 million in interest charges from now until all of the bonds mature in 2023. Between the bond sale and the state school finance overhaul, the school district cut their tax rate from $1.77 per $100 of assessed property value to $1.64. Comment on this story

Savoie appointed to water board
The Copper Canyon Town Council recently voted to appoint Dr. Michael Savoie as their representative to the Upper Trinity Regional Water District’s Board of Directors. Savoie replaces John Brothers, who’s election to the Copper Canyon Town Council in May disqualified him under state law from continuing to serve in both positions, according to Mayor Sue Tejml. Savoie is a former four-term mayor of Northlake and serves as Director of E-Business Initiatives at the University of Texas at Dallas and as Director of the Center for Information Technology and Management. Savoie is also President and CEO of HyperGrowth Solutions, Inc., an information technology infrastructure company. Comment on this story

Town to add traffic signal
Flower Mound officials are installing a traffic signal at the intersection of FM 2499 and Firewheel Drive, between FM 1171 and FM 3040. The new stoplight should be should be operational by mid-October. The town has added several new signals to the busy thoroughfare during the past several years as traffic counts continue to grow. “No other signals are planned right now, but one is proposed for funding during the next fiscal year at Windsor Drive and 2499,” said Kent Collins, Town Engineer. FM 2499 currently has nine traffic signals between FM 407 and the Grapevine city line. Comment on this story

More eateries announced on FM 2499
Two new restaurants will join the lineup at the Highlands Ranch shopping center at the northeast corner of FM 407 and FM 2499. Jason’s Deli and TGI Friday’s will open their doors by the end of this year, according to officials with Direct Development. “Jason’s Deli will feature a new concept for their restaurant by adding a drive up window,” said Derek Ferem with Direct Development. The New York style deli will be located next to the Ebby Halliday office on FM 2499. Comment on this story

County receives grant
Denton County has received $25,896 from Governor Rick Perry’s office to provide an early substance abuse and gang education program for at-risk youth and their parents through the Sheriff’s office. The grant was awarded under the federal Juvenile Accountability Block Grant program and distributed by the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division. “These grants are an important step in aiding young Texans and protecting our communities,” Perry said. “Through funding these services we are helping Texas youth, who are on a path of self destruction and crime, find their way back on the road to becoming productive citizens, able to positively contribute to their community.” More than $1.6 million in grants were awarded to programs addressing juvenile offender accountability across the state. Comment on this story
Development tops area growth
The fastest growing municipality on the tax rolls in southern Denton County is the Lantana master-planned development, according to final certified numbers from the Denton Central Appraisal District.

Total taxable property values in Lantana, also known as Denton County Fresh Water Districts 6 and 7, rose by nearly 29% over last year. New construction drove much of the increase. Lantana, with a taxable value of $420 million, now has a larger tax base than Copper Canyon and Double Oak combined. Other towns showing double digit growth were Bartonville (16.5%) and Argyle (12.8%). As a whole, Denton County’s taxable value increased by 8.2 percent, to $42 billion. See the data here.

Gas well drilling in the county accounted for a large increase in mineral values, jumping from $1.3 billion in 2005 to $2.7 billion this year. Area school districts are also cashing in on gas wells, new construction and rising property values. The Argyle Independent School District just edged out the Denton ISD in growth percentages. Comment on this story

Funeral services held for Dr. Sterling Smith
Funeral services for Denton School Board member Dr. Sterling Smith, who died on Aug. 19 in a mountain-climbing expedition near Aspen, Colorado, were held on Aug. 24 at First Baptist Church in Denton. A Biology Professor at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Dr. Smith had defeated three-term incumbent Rick Woolfolk in Place 2 of the Denton ISD Board of Trustees in May. Place 2 covers the fast-growing southern part of the district, including Lantana. An avid mountain climber, Dr. Smith had hiked more than 40 of Colorado’s 54 mountains that are 14,000 feet or higher, according to a Denton ISD spokesperson. Comment on this story

Officials searching for bank robbery suspect
Police are searching for a man who robbed the Bank of America at the Highlands of Flower Mound shopping center on the northwest corner of FM 407 and FM 2499 on the afternoon of Aug. 22. At 2:03 p.m., a black male approximately 25 to 30 years old handed a note to a teller demanding cash, police said. The suspect was wearing a teal colored baseball cap, sunglasses, black t-shirt and blue jeans. No weapon was used or displayed during the robbery. Anyone with information on the crime should call the Flower Mound Police Department at 972-539-0525. Comment on this story

Police Department wins award
The Highland Village Police Department has been recognized by the International Police Chiefs Association as the winner of the Community Policing Award for cities with a population under 20,000. The city’s “Police Involving Parents” program, which focuses on addressing minor infractions involving teenagers in the community, was recognized by the organization. “Through community policing efforts and partnerships, law enforcement continues to make its communities safe from crime as well as terrorist activity,” said Larry Curfiss, ITT Night Vision Vice President and Director, Business Development. Comment on this story

Town holds FM 407 development forum
Copper Canyon officials held a work session on Aug. 5 to discuss future commercial growth along the FM 407 corridor. Attendees included Copper Canyon Mayor Sue Tejml and four council members, members of the town’s Economic Development Committee and Planning and Zoning Commission, and residents from the Estates of Copper Canyon subdivision. A professor from the University of North Texas and two independent retail research firms shared their visions on future development. The two hour meeting was followed by a one hour state-mandated training session on the Open Meetings Act for all of Copper Canyon’s elected and appointed officials. Mayor Tejml said that she intends to have more Economic Development informational meetings for Copper Canyon residents and landowners this fall. Comment on this story
Police search for man who tried to abduct girl
Flower Mound police are on the lookout for a man who attempted to kidnap an 8-year old girl in Wellington. The incident occurred on the  afternoon of August 10 in the 2700 block Stanford Drive. The girl told police that a man grabbed her by the arm and tried to drag her to his truck that was parked nearby. She was able to fight off the attacker and ran home to tell her mother about the incident. The suspect is described as a white male about 6 feet, 2 inches tall, 200 lbs., approximately 40 years old, with light short hair. He was wearing long pants with a red or black shirt that may match his pants. The suspect vehicle is described as a gold pick-up truck with lettering on the sides and red flames on the rear portion of the truck. Anyone with information about the crime should call 972-539-0525. Comment on this story

Proposed tax will spare Lantana
Although political leaders in southern Denton County are supporting the creation of a special taxing district to upgrade emergency services provided by the Argyle Volunteer Fire Department, Lantana residents will not have to pay additional property taxes. “If the district is approved, Lantana will not be taxed,” said Kevin Mercer, Lantana General Manager. “We will not be within the proposed Emergency Services District, but will still be a member of and receive service from the Argyle Fire District,” Mercer added.

Lantana is not participating directly in the special taxing district because Denton County partially reimburses the Argyle fire department for responding to calls in unincorporated parts of the county. “We reimburse them on a per call basis…fire calls are reimbursed at $368.00 per call and EMS calls are reimbursed at $429.00 per call,” said Denton County Commissioner Cynthia White. The Lantana Community Association is paying the difference between the county funding and the assessed value rate that other towns are paying. In addition, the developer of Lantana has agreed to donate two acres of land on Copper Canyon Road as the site of a new fire station, which will provide better coverage to the east side of the District.

The proposed Emergency Service District is a political subdivision established by voters to raise money for fire and rescue efforts through property taxes in the district. “We will be proposing an initial tax rate of 5 cents per $100 in property valuation to maintain our current funding level,” said Argyle Fire Chief Mac Hohenberger. Sue Temjl, Mayor of Copper Canyon, said that the district is needed to bring stability in the way that the department is funded. “Long range planning may be compromised by the current practice of various contracts with individual cities and towns being renewed each year,” said Temjl. Voters will decide on creating the Emergency Service District this November.

The Argyle Volunteer Fire District is responsible for providing fire, rescue and emergency medical services for Lantana, Argyle, Bartonville, Copper Canyon, Corral City and Northlake, as well as other parts of unincorporated Denton County. Comment on this story

Police investigate copper thefts
The price of copper has doubled in the past 12 months, spurring increases in copper thefts in Denton County. Between July 1 and August 12, the Denton County Sheriff’s Department has investigated eight incidents involving the theft of $6,500 worth of copper wire or tubing from job sites.

In one incident on July 8, police responded to a burglary in progress in the 1000 block of Hayden Road in the Laviana section of Lantana. A witness reported that two men ran out of the back of a house under construction, leaving a parked motorcycle in the garage. Copper wire that had been cut out of the house was found nearby and appeared ready to be taken away. A computer check showed the abandoned motorcycle had been reported stolen.

The very next day, police received a call from a Bartonville home builder reporting that 150 feet of copper wire valued at $1,500 had been stolen from a site in the 900 block of Badminton Drive. The builder said that someone cut the main power line and took the wire off the pole.

“With scrap copper going for nearly four dollars a pound, the crime is increasingly attractive to drug users and criminals looking for easy money,” said Tom Reedy with the Denton County Sheriff’s Office. “While recyclers are required to collect identifying information from sellers of scrap copper, catching copper thieves is difficult because there’s no way to determine if the seller stole the copper, especially if the insulation has been burned off or otherwise removed from the wire.” Comment on this story
 
Drought losses in billions
And you thought that your water and electric bills were high this year… The extended dry spell has cost the state an estimated $4.1 billion in losses, Texas Cooperative Extension economists said Friday. Crop losses are estimated at $2.5 billion and livestock $1.6 billion, according to the report. The current drought equals the multi-year dry period of the 1950’s and could go down as the worst ever without substantial rainfall by the end of the year, according to Extension officials. “Most of North Texas, East Texas and the Coastal Bend were in various stages of drought since May of last year, and hay supplies were depleted maintaining livestock over the summer and winter,” said Dr. Travis Miller, Extension agronomist. At biggest risk are the state’s cow herds. Rising hay and supplemental feed costs are forcing many ranchers to liquidate herds and lack of water has forced some to sell out completely. Comment on this story

Water district seeks reimbursement
The Upper Trinity Regional Water District passed an amendment at their board meeting on Aug. 3 that may cost the town of Double Oak up to $20,000. The bylaw change allows the district to recover legal costs from their member entities. Double Oak submitted a brief to the Texas Attorney General’s office last October questioning the board’s decision to boot out members who work for a different city than the one that they reside in. If the issue is not resolved, Double Oak will not be in good standing with the district, officials said. Comment on this story

School rankings released
E.P. Rayzor Elementary School in Lantana kept its “Recognized” rating by the Texas Education Agency. Each public school in Texas is rated annually by the TEA as Exemplary, Recognized, Academically Acceptable or Academically Unacceptable. McMath was the only middle school in the Denton ISD to make the grade as a Recognized school. The Denton school district as a whole was rated Academically Acceptable. See the individual Denton campus accountability ratings here.

“Overall, the students continue to make strong gains in most of the assessment areas. This illustrates that we’re continuing to make progress,” said Superintendent Ray Braswell. For the 2005-06 school year, the Katrina and Rita evacuee students, which numbered from 115 to more than 150 throughout the year, were not included in the ratings. All three schools in the Argyle ISD received a Recognized rating from the TEA. Comment on this story

School board approves teacher salary increases
Denton ISD teachers will start the new school year with a little more jingle in their pockets. The Denton School Board of Trustees recently approved a minimum 9-percent raise for teachers in the fast-growing school district. The board also voted to also approve a 6-percent increase for para-professional and operations staff and a 4.5-percent raise for exempt staff, which includes school principals and other administrators.

The new salary schedule includes the starting pay for teachers with a bachelor’s degree at $41,750, which is a 10 percent increase over the 2005-06 salary. “This is the year of the teacher. These increases are very well justified and appropriate. Teachers have been underpaid in Texas for many, many years,” said Dr. Ray Braswell, superintendent of Denton ISD. Comment on this story

Golf club memberships hit another milestone
The Lantana Golf Club recently eclipsed the 300 membership mark, which triggered a $500 increase in the initiation fee. Joining the semi-private club will now set you back $6,500. New Lantana homebuyers can join for half price. The club recently posted their third record-breaking month in a row for membership sales, according to Stephen Phillips, General Manager.
Phillips said that three-fourths of the club’s current members live in Lantana. The Lantana neighborhood of Meridian has the highest percentage of members. The club will convert to a fully private facility as soon as it reaches the 500 member mark. Memberships will be capped at 600. Call 940-728-4653 for more information. Comment on this story
Rayzor PTA members attend seminar
Members of the E.P. Rayzor Elementary School Parent Teacher Association, along with 3,000 parents and educational leaders from across the state, recently attended Texas PTA’s three-day Summer Leadership Seminar in Austin. Rayzor PTA members Mary Davis, President, Kerri Monroe, Vice President, Jennifer Reyna, Treasurer, Tami Carson, Secretary and Stephanie Walters, Parliamentarian, participated in workshops and listened to professional presenters from around the country speak about such topics as: parenting, leadership skills, community networking, advocacy, conflict resolution and children’s health issues. “Summer Leadership Seminar provides the foundation to assist PTA leaders across the state in accomplishing the wonderful work they do for Texas children and their educational successes as well as getting more adults involved in the lives of children,” said Michelle Humphreys, Texas PTA President. Comment on this story

FM industrial park lands new buildings
Two Atlanta-based companies have joined forces to develop three buildings totaling 1.7 million square feet at Lakeside Ranch Business Park, a 226-acre industrial park in Flower Mound. Cousins Properties and Seefried Properties have acquired 85 acres at Lakeside Ranch and plan to start their first building, a 750,000-square-foot bulk distribution warehouse, immediately for delivery in March 2007. “Lakeside Ranch has tremendous access to the airport and is in one of the region’s top industrial markets. This is a great opportunity,” said Forrest Robinson, president of Cousins’ Industrial Division. The warehouse buildings at Lakeside Ranch will be Cousins’ first industrial development outside of their home turf of Atlanta. Comment on this story

Authorities investigate car break-ins
Simple prevention could curb the recent rash of vehicle break-ins in Lantana, authorities said. Many of the vehicles burglarized were not locked. Residents in Magnolia, Heritage, Sonora and Brenham have reported thefts from vehicles recently. One vehicle on Thorne Dr. in Sonora was burglarized twice in just over a week. The burglaries are mostly happening at night. Police said the incidents serve as a reminder to residents to keep their doors locked and take valuables out of their vehicles. Comment on this story

Grocers line up on Cross Timbers Road
Two new supermarkets are coming to the FM 1171 corridor in Flower Mound. A Market Street grocery store will make its Denton County debut on the northwest corner of Forums Drive and FM 1171, just east of FM 2499. The Lubbock-based chain features a combination of everyday items mixed with gourmet offerings. A few miles to the west, Dallas-based Direct Development is bringing a Tom Thumb grocery store to the Wellington/Bridlewood area. The new supermarket will anchor the Village of Flower Mound shopping center, planned for the intersection of Bruton Orand and FM 1171. Comment on this story

Biggest builders named
The largest home builder in Lantana is also one of the biggest in DFW. Highland Homes ranked as the fourth biggest builder in North Texas, with 2,464 starts in the year-ending June 30, 2006. Other Lantana builders that appeared on the list, from Dallas-based Residential Strategies, include David Weekley (1,497), Grand (830), Drees (743), Darling (415), Sotherby (368), Landstar (249), Altura (169) and William Ryan (144). Highland, along with their sister divisions, Huntington and Sanders Custom Homes, currently build in four Lantana neighborhoods, with three more coming online later this year. D.R. Horton topped the list for all of DFW, with a whopping 5,772 starts during the past 12-months. Comment on this story

Cyclists petition Corps for trails
The Dallas Off Road Bicycling Association plans to spearhead the development of mountain biking trails on nearly 1,000 acres of Army Corps of Engineers land in Copper Canyon. Members of the organization want area residents to sign a petition asking the Corps to approve the development of multi-use trails for bicycles and hiking. The oval-shaped area, well suited for one-way circular trails, is just west of Copper Canyon Road near the Old Alton Bridge. No residential or commercial development will be allowed on the land. The Dallas Off Road Bicycling Association was founded in 1988. Comment on this story

Cracker Barrel coming to FM 2499
The new building going up across from Grapevine Mills Mall under the FM 2499 flyover will be a Cracker Barrel Restaurant and Old Country Store, according to Chip Mahaney at FlowerMoundRoad.com. The nationally known chain serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner menus featuring home-style comfort foods and a retail store that offers a wide selection of quality gifts, music and packaged foods. The average Cracker Barrel serves 1,200 guests per day and rakes in $4.2 million in annual sales, according to company officials. Cracker Barrel has 543 company-owned stores in 41 states. The new location in Grapevine will be their 11th store in North Texas. Comment on this story

Argyle sets new drilling regulations
Argyle is once again open for oil and gas well exploration, now that the town has ended its three month moratorium on drilling. The town council adopted a revised ordinance governing future drilling on July 25. The new rules allow drilling within 300 feet of a residence, if the owner of the surface and mineral rights are the same. Drilling is not permitted within 600 feet if different parties own the surface and mineral rights. Argyle’s extraterritorial jurisdiction will not be subject to the regulations. The state minimum setback is 200 feet from a residence. Comment on this story

Police calls drop in development
Despite the fast growing population, police reported 9 percent fewer calls in Lantana during the second three months of 2006 compared to the same period last year. The Denton County Sheriff’s Department responded to 167 calls for service from Lantana between April 1 and June 30, with burglar alarms accounting for 65 percent of all runs. See the police call data here.

The most serious incident occurred on May 5, when a construction worker was shot by two unknown suspects on Dayton Dr. in the Heritage neighborhood. For all of 2005, there were a total of 661 police calls and 99 fire/rescue runs in Lantana. Comment on this story

FM wildfires disrupt rush hour
Two wildfires in the western section of Flower Mound kept area fire crews busy for several hours on the afternoon of July 24. One blaze in the 9500 bock of FM 1171 prompted officials to shut down 1171 between Shiloh Road and US 377 during the height of rush hour. The fire consumed 35 acres of grass and brush along FM 1171. Crews from Argyle, Double Oak, Lewisville, Justin and Roanoke helped Flower Mound fight the blaze.

A second grass fire was reported 45 minutes later at 2209 Paradise, near Wichita Trail. The fire was contained to three acres, but at one point threatened several large homes in the area. No injuries were reported in either fire. The extremely dry terrain and strong southeast winds fueled both fires. Comment on this story

City needs more money for fire station
The Highland Village City Council held a public hearing on Tuesday, July 25, to discuss issuing certificates of obligation to cover additional funding for the proposed fire station at Highland Village Road and Brazos Boulevard. Escalating construction and design costs have caused the project to go over the $1.8-million budget previously approved by voters, city officials said. The station was originally estimated to be 11,000 square feet, but the architectural firm hired by the city designed a 14,245 square foot building to meet the city’s future needs. The City Council will vote on the ordinance on August 22. Comment on this story

FM previews budget
The Flower Mound Town Council held a work session on July 31 to discuss the proposed 2006-2007 budget. Police and fire positions, along with capital improvement projects, were some of the priorities. “Our residents have stated loud and clear that public safety, infrastructure, and economic development should take precedence during the next fiscal year,” said Mayor Jody Smith. More than $550,000 was included to renovate Green Acres Farm, a 13.7-acre property recently donated to the town that may be developed into a botanical garden, arboretum and museum. The town’s revenue is spurred by a large increase in taxable property values. At $5.6 million, Flower Mound currently has the highest taxable value of any municipality within the Denton Central Appraisal District. Comment on this story

School district looks at growth patterns
The Denton School Board recently reviewed a report on residential growth in the district. The report estimated that 2,372 new homes will be occupied in the district between now and the end of March 2007. There are 4,521 vacant lots on the ground, a 21.2 month supply, for new single family homes. The fastest growing subdivisions driving the growth are Wheeler Ridge, Savannah, Cross Oak Ranch, Robson Ranch and Paloma Creek. The average price of a new single-family home in the school district is $209,986. Comment on this story

Lantana home sales analyzed
The trend is favorable for residential resales in Lantana. The average pre-existing home sold for $312,092 during the second quarter of 2006, a 18% increase over first quarter, according to Lantana resident and Realtor Dave Lucas of Coldwell Banker NCS. Homes in the master-planned community netted an average of $96.64 per square foot, up 5% from the pervious three-month period.

As the weather heated up this year, so did the speed of transactions. The average house sat on the market for 60 days in the second quarter, a sharp decline from the first three months of 2006. One home on Noble Ave. in Laurel sold in only six days. Another house in Heritage was snapped up in nine days, for the asking price. Click here to see how sales stacked up in your neighborhood. The data is based on 33 sales of existing homes in Lantana between April 1 and June 30 from the North Texas Real Estate Information System MLS. Comment on this story

Area schools vandalized
Police are looking for four juveniles who fled on bicycles from a Highland Village Police officer who was attempting to stop them for a curfew violation near the Highland Shores Community Center during the week of July 16. The males, in their early teens, are possible suspects in the burglaries last week at Highland Village Elementary and McAuliffe Elementary, as well as a vandalism incident at Kids Kastle. Residents are being asked to watch for any suspicious, unusual, or late night activity occurring in or around the schools and to call the police immediately. Anyone with information about the crimes can report it anonymously through the HVPD Crime Tip Line at 972-317-TIPS. Comment on this story

Town council approves zoning for shopping center
Argyle officials gave the developer of a controversial shopping center their blessings during a packed Town Council meeting on July 11. Over 100 people assembled in the Argyle High School Cafeteria to discuss the Argyle Falls development, planned for 26-acres at the northeast corner of U.S. 377 and Country Club Road. After hearing residents speak and a lengthy discussion with the developer, councilors approved the zoning changes by a vote of 4 to 1.

The development is planned as a “Town Center” concept and provides a mixture of land uses including office, retail, restaurant and neighborhood services. “We will continue to be available to all Argyle residents gathering innovative ideas; our door is always open to constructive criticism,” said Stephen Schattner, President of Imperium Holdings. Imperium plans to open the shopping center, anchored by a national grocery store, by late 2008. Comment on this story

Town seeks temporary traffic signal
Copper Canyon Mayor Sue Tejml has requested a temporary traffic signal for the intersection of Jernigan Road and FM 407 during the reconstruction of Chinn Chapel Road. Chinn Chapel Road will be closed at FM 407 for up to nine months, beginning in 2007, for widening and the installation of turn lanes north of the intersection. The closure will detour traffic onto Jernigan Road, which crosses FM 407 west of Chinn Chapel. Mayor Tejml has asked Denton County Commissioner Jim Carter if the county could fund a temporary traffic light at Jernigan and FM 407. In addition, Flower Mound Town Manager Harlan Jefferson has offered to provide police officers to direct traffic at the intersection during morning and evening rush hours, Tejml said. Comment on this story

Lantana makes top communities list
Even though it slipped a few notches from last year, Lantana still ranked high in housing starts among master-planned communities in North Texas, according to the Dallas Business Journal. Republic Property Group reported 307 starts and 323 closings in Lantana for the year-ending March 31, 2006, ranking 11th on the list. As of the end of May, Lantana had 1,258 occupied homes. WestRidge in McKinney held the top spot, with 678 starts and 699 closings. Comment on this story

Gas well to locate near development
Residents of the Crescent neighborhood in Lantana will soon have a new neighbor. A natural gas well is being located on a tract of land adjacent to the neighborhood, according to officials from Republic Property Group. Republic does not own the land where drilling will take place. Dallas-based Argali Resources will conduct drilling operations on the property. Bill Martindale, owner of Argali Resources, said that drilling should begin by the end of this year. As far as specific well locations, Martindale said that “there are no definite plans right now”. The company will build 30 wells near Lantana, Tour 18 and Bartonville.

There are also several existing gas wells, operated by other entities, just north of Lantana. The Rayzor family still controls the mineral rights in Lantana, so horizontal drilling can take place under the development. The process typically involves boring 4,500 to 8,500-feet down, then drilling 2000 to 5000-feet horizontal sections. An average rig is usually about 120 to 145 feet tall. The drilling of a new well typically takes three to four weeks. A good well can continue extracting natural gas for 10 to 15 years or longer, according to industry sources. Gas wells can be located within 200 feet from a residence in unincorporated areas of Denton County.

Lantana sits over part of the 5,000-square-mile Barnett Shale gas field, which stretches beneath 15 counties and produces around 1.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day. Mark Wagner, President of Republic Property Group, said that there are no current plans to drill on land that the company owns near residential areas in Lantana. Comment on this story

Verizon easements granted
The Lantana Fresh Water District #6 Board of Directors granted two easements to Verizon at their June meeting. Verizon requested the easements to install equipment related to the rollout of their fiber-optic network in Lantana. The easements are located at the intersection of Lantana Trail and Rayzor Road, and behind the golf maintenance barn on Golf Club Drive.

Meanwhile, Kevin Mercer, Lantana General Manager, has issued permits to Verizon to begin the installation of fiber-optic lines in four neighborhoods: Fairlin, Sierra, Telea and Laviana. Residents can call Mercer at 940-728-5050 if they have any concerns during the installation process. The entire neighborhood is expected to be connected by this November. Comment on this story
What’s old is new again…
The four-year old fitness facility at Lantana’s South Community Center received a $70,000 makeover in June 2006. See story below.
South Community Center gets facelift
A $70,000 renovation of the gym at the Lantana South Community Center was completed in June. Improvements include new carpet and paint, as well as the addition of new cardio equipment, additional dumbbells in the weight room, and the reconditioning of other equipment, according to the Lantana Community Association. The project was paid for by the association with reserve funds. Comment on this story

 

Community events, health news, financial and legal advice, humor and more – Lantana Living
Rayzor TAKS scores released
The preliminary 2006 Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills scores have been released for E.P. Rayzor Elementary School in Lantana. Students scored high in all categories once again this year. There was no significant change in the results compared to last year for the school, which is rated as “Recognized” by the Texas Education Agency. The preliminary scores will be further broken down by ethnicity and economic status when they are officially released later this year.
E.P. Rayzor TAKS Scores
2006* 2005
Reading 96% 96%
Writing 98% 99%
Math 92% 92%
Science 92% 91%
Average 95% 95%
*Preliminary results
Comment on this story

FM 2499 project to start this fall
Construction to improve a well-traveled segment of FM 2499 between Spinks Road and FM 1171 in Flower Mound should start by November, according to Flower Mound officials. A 2.7 mile stretch of FM 2499 will be widened from four to six lanes by late-2007. Denton County and Flower Mound will fund the $4 million project. The next section of FM 2499 slated for widening is between FM 1171 and FM 407. That project is expected to start in summer 2007 and wrap up by 2009. Comment on this story

Burn Ban in effect

 

The Denton County Commissioners Court reinstated a countywide burn ban on June 13. The restrictions prohibit all outdoor burning and the use of fireworks anywhere in the county.

Denton County had been under a burn ban that was lifted on March 21. But North Texas is again experiencing hot and dry weather with little chance of relief in the immediate future. “Drought is hard on everyone, especially farmers and ranchers; wildfires can destroy not only lives and property, but livelihood as well,” said County Judge Mary Horn.

Police will have the power to issue citations to the owners of property where fireworks are discharged, as well as anyone who sets off fireworks. A violation of the court ordered burn ban is a class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $500.00. Call the Denton County Fire Marshall at 940-349-2840 for more information. Comment on this story

School names courtyard
The Denton School Board recently named the outdoor courtyard area at E.P. Rayzor Elementary in honor of the school’s first principal. The area will now be known as the “Doug Key Cowboy Courtyard”. Key had been an employee of the Denton school district for 33 years. He stepped down from his position as principal of E.P. Rayzor due to health reasons in May 2005, and passed away two months later. Comment on this story

Area may get tornado sirens
The Argyle Volunteer Fire District is exploring a way to purchase warning sirens to alert residents in the event of a tornado or other emergency. Funding is available through a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to Argyle Fire Chief Mac Hohenberger.

“I am planning on applying for a grant for each entity in the district,” Hohenberger said. The fire district serves Lantana, Argyle, Bartonville, Copper Canyon, Corral City and Northlake, as well as parts of unincorporated Denton County.

The ongoing maintenance cost for each siren, estimated at $500 per year, and the acquisition of property to place the sirens would be the responsibility of the individual towns. Lantana will need four sirens to cover the development, Hohenberger said.

In addition, the Denton County Office of Emergency Management announced that they are rolling out a countywide “reverse 911” system at no additional cost to the local fire districts. The technology will allow police or other officials to call people’s homes or cell phones with warnings. Comment on this story

School’s out, trouble’s in
Copper Canyon officials are getting reports of petty vandalism around the town. Several cars had their back windshields broken out in the Chinn Chapel North subdivision, mailboxes were knocked over on Orchid Hill Rd. and Town Hall was egged in June. Officials are asking residents to keep a sharp eye on their property, report problems to the Double Oak Police and park their vehicles off the main streets at night. Parents are asked to closely monitor the whereabouts and activities of their teenagers. Comment on this story

Watering restrictions in effect
Customers of the Bartonville Water Supply Corporation should check their calendar before watering their lawn this summer. The utility has implemented Stage 2, or Yellow water restrictions. Outdoor watering is allowed every other day based on whether a street address ends in an odd or even number. Those with an odd numbered last digit can water on odd numbered calendar days, and even numbered last digits, including “0”, can water on even numbered days. The rule also applies to the washing of vehicles. The utility also advised against watering between the hours of 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. For more information, contact the Bartonville Water Supply Corporation at 817-430-3541. Comment on this story

Town waives right to review Lantana’s subdivision plats
Last November, the state of Texas passed a law that allowed towns to review subdivision plats in their extra-territorial jurisdiction. Copper Canyon officials thought that it would be a good idea, except for the fact that part of the fast growing Lantana development is included in their ETJ. In the past, Lantana plats were only reviewed and approved by Denton County.

“Systematic review of all Lantana plats would be time consuming on Copper Canyon’s staff, its Planning and Zoning Department, and Council members,” said Copper Canyon Mayor Sue Tejml. “Obviously, Lantana would like to only meet county review and not both county and Copper Canyon review. Two reviews is onerous and very time consuming.”

Lantana and Copper Canyon officials recently hammered out a deal to streamline the review process. It was decided that the town would not review Lantana’s future subdivision plats. As a courtesy, Rick Strauss, CEO of Republic Property Group, agreed to submit future plats to Copper Canyon for an informational review 32 days prior to sending them to Denton County for approval. The eastern half of Lantana is in Copper Canyon’s ETJ, which extends one half mile west from the town’s boundaries. Comment on this story

Council adjusts utility bills
Highland Village wants to ease the pain that the dry weather caused this winter. The Town Council recently passed an ordinance authorizing the City Manager to adjust the method for calculating residential sewer charges. The town uses a winter average, but dry weather prompted residents to continue watering their yards during the winter. Water usage in the town increased an average of 30 percent over last year, which would lead to higher utility bills for the rest of the year. The new formula will reduce the calculated winter average by 25 percent, bringing the average sewage charge in line with previous years. Each resident will receive a letter outlining their discounted winter average amount. Comment on this story

Road to get new signals
Flower Mound officials have gotten the green light from the Texas Department of Transportation to install two new traffic signals on FM 1171. The stoplights will go up at the FM 1171/High Road and FM 1171/Flower Mound Road intersections. Meanwhile, TxDOT is preparing to begin the widening of FM 1171 to a six-lane divided highway from FM 2499 to I-35W. The widening project is scheduled to begin in October and take several years to complete. Comment on this story
Bartonville approves Lantana annexation
The Bartonville Town Council approved the annexation of 46 acres in Lantana at their meeting on May 30, 2006. The land is located within Bartonville’s extraterritorial jurisdiction near the northeast corner of FM 407, East Jeter Road and McMakin Road.

Officials with Republic Property Group said that the agreement would help attract a major grocery store in the proposed Lantana Corner shopping center by allowing the sale of beer and wine. Once the land is annexed and zoned, Bartonville will call a local election in May 2007 to legalize the sale of alcoholic beverages on the property.

“The difference between a major grocery store saying “yes” or “no” to a shopping center has everything to do with beer and wine sales at that location,” said Derek Ferem with Direct Development, a local shopping center company.

When the new retail center is complete in 2008, officials estimate the $50 million development will generate $500,000 annually in tax revenue for Lantana.

Lantana Fresh Water Supply District #7 will be able to collect its full share of property taxes from the shopping center. In addition, Bartonville will share sales tax receipts from the development with Lantana. Click here for more details of the agreement.

“It’s a win-win for Lantana homeowners and the Town of Bartonville,” said Richard C. Strauss, Chairman of Rayzor Ranch, L.P. “This agreement will generate development that will improve the great quality of life in Lantana and Bartonville, generate new revenue for the Fresh Water Supply District and Bartonville and keep taxes on services low.” Comment on this story

Emergency tax district proposed for area
The Denton County Commissioners Court took the first step to provide additional funding for the fast-growing Argyle Volunteer Fire District on May 30, 2006. Commissioners cleared the way for area cities and towns to hold an election this November to create an Emergency Service District and authorize a new property tax to fund the district.
“We are not able to keep up with growth-related expenses under the current funding system,” said Argyle Fire Chief Mac Hohenberger. If approved by voters in November, the district could levy taxes of up to 10 cents per $100 of property valuation to areas that the organization serves. Chief Hohenberger said that the actual amount would likely be closer to 5 cents. Lantana officials are not participating in the taxing district and will utilize county funding to support the fire district.

The Argyle Volunteer Fire District is responsible for providing fire, rescue and emergency medical services for Lantana, Argyle, Bartonville, Copper Canyon, Corral City and Northlake, as well as parts of unincorporated Denton County. The Board of Directors usually meet on the fourth Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at Bartonville Town Hall. Comment on this story

Lantana and town work out traffic agreement
Copper Canyon and Lantana officials recently came to an agreement regarding roadways connecting the two municipalities. Lantana’s developer, Republic Property Group, had previously planned to extend Lantana Trail and a second four-lane road to connect with Copper Canyon Road, according to the town’s Mayor, Sue Tejml.

In a new Interlocal Agreement between the two entities, Lantana vowed to not extend any main thoroughfares to Copper Canyon Road. Republic also agreed that any road connecting to Copper Canyon would be a neighborhood street, in order to discourage cut-through traffic. Finally, Republic agreed that no feeder road would exit onto Copper Canyon Road opposite Orchid Hill Lane. “Hopefully this strategy will discourage east-west commuters from using Lantana and Copper Canyon as a cut-through route,” said Mayor Tejml. Comment on this story

Police asking for help in Lantana shooting
Denton County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of two men involved in the shooting of a construction worker in Lantana. Julian Sanchez Vazquez, Sr., 44, was shot twice while working on a house in the Heritage neighborhood on May 5, 2006. The suspects left in a beige SUV with dealer license tags. Click here for a complete description of the suspects. Anyone with information about the crime should contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-388-TIPS (8477). Callers will remain anonymous. Comment on this story

Bus service ready to roll
A new commuter bus service is rolling along I-35E. The Denton County Transportation Authority runs six round-trips between Denton and downtown Dallas each weekday, with stops in Lewisville and Carrollton. The cost is $5 for a one-way trip, $45 for a 20-ride pre-paid ticket, and $85 for a monthly pass. Children under 5 can ride for free. Click here or call 940-243-0077 for more information. Comment on this story

FM 407 meeting held
Officials conducted a public hearing on May 18, 2006, at the Lantana Golf Club to review planned improvements for FM 407 from Briarhill Boulevard to FM 1830. The Texas Department of Transportation presented construction drawings and timelines for the six-mile, $36.7 million project.

Double Oak Mayor Dick Cook, Denton County Commissioner Jim Carter, Lantana Fresh Water District #6 Directors Max Miller and Donna Robichaux, and other public officials attended the event.

Several concerned residents spoke during the public comment period. Bruce Monroe, owner of Bartonville Town Center, lamented that westbound traffic on the new road will not be able to access the shopping center. He urged officials to amend the plans so motorists will not attempt to make dangerous U-turns.

Construction on the first section, between Briarhill and Chinn Chapel, is expected to begin in spring 2007. The entire project has an estimated completion date of 2010. Comment on this story

Water board names officers
The Upper Trinity Regional Water District recently held their 2006 officer elections. Sandy Cash, who represents the city of Irving, was elected as President of the organization. Cash replaced Carrollton Environmental Services Director Tony Romo. Carrollton recently terminated their agreement with the water district because the city no longer uses their services. Martha Mason, Vice President, Todd Madison, Treasurer, and Kevin Mercer, Secretary, will serve second terms in their respective positions. Comment on this story

Appraisals show sharp increase
Your house is probably worth more to the taxman this year. A random check of residential tax appraisals in Lantana show a 10 percent average increase compared to last year’s certified values. Tell us – How did your home compare?

Total 2006 preliminary property values in Lantana rose by 33 percent, according to data from the Denton Central Appraisal District. New construction drove much of the increase. Lantana now has a larger tax base than Double Oak and Copper Canyon combined. See the data here.

Countywide, the increase was 18 percent. The numbers typically drop in late July, after appeals are considered. Homeowners who want to protest their valuations have to file an appeal no later than 30 days after the notice was mailed, or by May 31, whichever date is later.  Comment on this story

FM office park breaks ground
Flower Mound officials recently participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for the Silveron Office Center, a 67,374-square-foot, two-story office building in the Lakeside Business District. The event also served as a welcoming for Ivie and Associates, the center’s first tenant. Part of a 380-acre master planned development, the Silveron Office Center is located off of FM 2499, north of DFW Airport. The office center is projected to be complete this fall. Comment on this story

More stores announced at center
A handful of well-know national retailers have signed on to join Dick’s Sporting Goods, J.C. Penney and Belk department stores at a new shopping center on the southwest corner of FM 2499 and Dixon Lane.

Cingular, Kirkland’s, Layne Bryant, LaMadeline, Rack Room Shoes, Red Robin, Starbucks and Ulta Cosmetics are slated for the 462,000 square-foot Robertson’s Creek shopping center. The retail development is already 75% pre-leased, and is on the fast track to open in March 2007. In a nod to the past, stone markers will be installed memorializing the families that previously owned the land.

The project is expected to bring approximately 400 new jobs to Flower Mound and generate $1.2 million in annual sales and property tax revenues. Next door to the development, a Gym Kids children’s fitness center is moving into the old Universal Academy building. Comment on this story

Town honored as a top community
Flower Mound was recently recognized as one of the top 10 communities in the country in the new book “Best Places to Raise Your Family: The Top 100 Affordable Communities in the U.S.” written by Bert Sperling and Peter Sander. Flower Mound finished first among Texas cities and fifth best in the country. The book, published by Frommer’s, grades communities based on demographics, standard of living, education, lifestyle, health, and safety. Comment on this story

Grant benefits fire agency
The Argyle Volunteer Fire District has a new Jaws of Life device, thanks to a grant from CoServ. The Fire Department received $21,966 from the utility cooperative to replace their worn out unit. The hydraulic tool is typically used to pry open vehicles involved in accidents where a victim is trapped. “We use them five or six times a month, so the grant came just in time,” Hohenberger said. The CoServ Charitable Foundation provides funding assistance to approved applicants located within the company’s service area. The foundation board has approved grants for more than $150,500. Comment on this story

Argyle ISD makes the grade
97 percent of Argyle third graders who took the 2006 Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills exam passed the reading portion of the test, school officials said. 76 percent received a commended score. The TAKS reading exam passing rate statewide was 89 percent, with 43 percent commended. Additionally, 93 percent of the fifth-graders at Hilltop Elementary School passed the reading test, with 41 percent receiving commended scores. That compares favorably with the statewide passing rate of 80 percent, and 22 percent with commended scores. Students who did not pass will have two more opportunities to take the reading test. The district’s Student Success Initiative requires students in Grade 3 to pass TAKS reading and students in Grade 5 to pass both reading and math before progressing to the next grade level. Comment on this story

Police search for shooting suspects
Authorities are still searching for two suspects involved in a recent shooting in Lantana. A construction worker was shot twice by two unknown suspects on May 5, 2006. The incident occurred in a house under construction on Dayton Dr. in the Heritage neighborhood, according to the Denton County Sheriff’s office. The victim, Julian Sanchez Vazquez, 44, of Dallas, was transported to the hospital by CareFlight helicopter with gunshot wounds to the hand and stomach. The injuries were not considered life threatening. Police are looking for two Hispanic males driving a white SUV with dealer plates. Comment on this story

Shopping eyed for 407/Copper Canyon
Plans are in the works for a strip shopping center at the southeast corner of Lantana. Republic Property Group is proposing a 25,800 sq. ft. retail center at the northwest corner of FM 407 and Copper Canyon Rd. The parcel is located near the Fairlin addition of Lantana, in the Copper Canyon extraterritorial jurisdiction. Plans show a bank and restaurant site in front of the proposed strip center. “We are in the preliminary stages of looking at possible retail opportunities,” said Mark Wagner, President of Republic Property Group. Click here to see the proposed site plan. Comment on this story

Traffic enforcement to increase in town
Police will step up their presence on Copper Canyon roadways through July 2006. The Copper Canyon Town Council recently approved the Special Traffic Enforcement Program, or STEP, to deter speeding in the area. The program will be in force from 12 to 15 hours per week intermittently through the July 4th holiday. The STEP program has been proven to pay for the cost of the extra officers’ time and to slow down motorists, town officials said. Comment on this story

Mall groundbreaking held

 

Highland Village officials approved the site plan, building elevations and landscaping for The Shops at Highland Village recently and held a groundbreaking ceremony for the upscale mall planned for the northwest corner of FM 407 and FM 2499. Officials from Regency Centers announced that Shoe Pavilion, Banana Republic and Eddie Bauer have signed on to locate in the center. Other tenants, including Snuffers, Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor Loft, Bath & Body Works, Victoria’s Secret and Coldwater Creek are in contract negotiations. Click here for a preliminary tenant list.

“This is a true lifestyle center because of the quality of tenants, however it’s also a town center project because it’s set up like a town square in that the tenants are within walking distance and common gathering areas are incorporated throughout,” said Jack O’Brien of O’Brien and Associates, the architect for the development. The 385,000 square foot shopping, dining, entertainment and office center is expected to open in August 2007. Comment on this story
New board members take office
Lantana residents Max Miller and Donna Robichaux took their oaths of office at the Lantana Fresh Water District #6 Board of Directors meeting on May 18, 2006. The pair unseated incumbents Keller Webster and Fred Albrecht last Saturday. The board members took the following positions:
Johnny Swaim – President
John Tatum – Vice President
Max Miller – Secretary
Lee Lazarus – Treasurer/Assistant Secretary
Donna Robichaux – Assistant Secretary Comment on this story
Fire station coming to Lantana
Officials from the Argyle Volunteer Fire District and Republic Property Group have partnered to bring a fire station to Lantana. Republic is donating two acres on Copper Canyon Rd. for the facility. In return, the Fire District will fund up to $15,000 to assist with the construction of a limited access road to connect Golf Club Drive in Lantana to the fire station. The station will be manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with ambulance service and possibly a sheriff’s substation. Officials estimate that the new facility will cost $500,000, and should be completed by 2008. Comment on this story

Restaurant gets approval
The Highland Village City Council approved the site plan for Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill to be located in the Marketplace at Highland Village. Applebee’s will join the Wal-Mart Supercenter at the northeast corner of FM 407 and FM 2499. Opus West, the developer of the shopping center, recently announced that Steak N Shake, LA Fitness, TJ Maxx, Home Goods, Office Depot, Petco, Up in Smoke, Ritzy’s and Hibernia Bank have signed agreements to locate at the Marketplace. Comment on this story

Town ready for fiber install
Verizon has gotten the green light to begin installation of their fiber-optic network in Copper Canyon. Utility subcontractors will be working throughout the town this spring and summer installing fiber optic lines in the right-of-ways, officials said. The company will be boring the fiber-optic cabling, to minimize trenching. Crews will provide signage with emergency contact numbers during construction and distributing door hangers detailing the services that will be available when the installation is complete. Comment on this story

Final election results released
The final results of Lantana’s first election on May 13, 2006, held no surprises. After 11 provisional ballots were verified, both Max Miller and Donna Robichaux retained their first and second place positions, respectively. The pair unseated incumbents Keller Webster and Fred Albrecht on the Board of Directors in Denton County Fresh Water Supply District #6. The results will be made official at the FWSD #6 meeting this Thursday.
Max Miller 135
Donna Robichaux 71
Scott Hurst 61
Joseph A. Pascullo 52
Erica Wilken 38
Jim Petreas 24
Keller W. Webster (I) 19
Frederick L. Albrecht (I)  15
John J. Logan 12
Discuss the election results here
Turnout was healthy, as preliminary numbers show 19% of registered voters in the district participated in the election. Republic Development, the developer of Lantana, offered free food and refreshments for everyone who voted on Saturday. Comment on this story

Area election results
A number of Southern Denton County cities, towns and school districts wrapped up their elections on May 13, 2006.

In Argyle, Mark Bogosian defeated incumbent Dona Schroetke in Place 1 on the Town Council.

In the Argyle school district, Russell Ammons and Klip Weaver took two at-large seats.

Copper Canyon residents filled three Town Council seats. The winners were Steve Hill, Dan Christy, and John Brothers.

Texas Woman’s University biology professor Sterling Smith defeated three-term incumbent Rick Woolfolk in Place 2 of the Board of Trustees for the Denton Independent School District. Dr. Smith received 1,986 votes and Woolfolk received 1,679. This is Dr. Smith’s first school board election. Mr. Woolfolk has been on the board since 1997 and is a former board president.

Former Director of Economic Development Jim Lang was soundly defeated by incumbent Jody Smith for the Mayor’s office in Flower Mound.

Dianne Costa edged out Dave Bunnell for the Highland Village Mayor’s office. Council seats in Place 2, 4, and 6, along with several City Charter amendments, were also decided. Click here for results.

Former Lewisville ISD teacher Vernell Gregg won the Place 2 seat on the LISD Board of Trustees during Saturday’s election. Tom Ferguson ran unchallenged for a second term in Place 1. Comment on this story
Sporting goods retailer commits to center
Dick’s Sporting Goods will join J.C. Penney and Belk department stores to anchor a 462,000 square-foot shopping center on the southwest corner of FM 2499 and Dixon Lane, just south of SuperTarget. The Robertson’s Creek shopping center will feature retailers focusing on “soft goods”, such as clothing and accessories, home textiles and furnishings, according to officials with Direct Development. Click here for the site plan. The development is projected to generate over $1.1 million of annual ad valorem taxes to Flower Mound and the Lewisville School District and over $1 million in annual sales tax revenue to the town. Comment on this story

New Wal-Mart to feature upscale items
The new Wal-Mart in Highland Village will be similar to the high end Super Center that opened recently in Plano. City officials met with the Wal-Mart District Manager recently to discuss the company’s marketing concept and presentation for the new store at the northeast corner of FM 407 and FM 2499. The store will feature a large wine section, sushi bar, organic and natural foods, WiFi-enabled coffee shop, wider aisles and additional checkout areas. “We value our relationship with these communities, and we’ve been very attentive to opening stores that are a good fit architecturally and offer the shopping experience that our customers expect,” said Wal-Mart Regional General Manager John Murphy. The 203,000-square-foot Wal-Mart Super Center will anchor the Marketplace at Highland Village shopping center. Construction of the Wal-Mart is scheduled to wrap up by October. Comment on this story

Town contemplating Lantana annexation
Bartonville officials are negotiating with Republic Property Group to annex a 46-acre portion of Lantana. The land being considered is the site of a future shopping center in the southwest corner of Lantana, near the intersection of FM 407 and Jeter Road. No residents will be affected by the proposed annexation. Click here for a map. The area of interest is within Bartonville’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, which extends one-half mile from the town’s border. The town cannot annex the tract without approval from Republic Property Group.

Mark Wagner, President of Republic Property Group, said the annexation must benefit Lantana before they agree to it. “We are not going to do anything that would hurt Lantana or sacrifice sales tax to the district,” Wagner said. “We will go forward only if there is a mutual benefit.” Bartonville already controls all four corners of the FM 407/Jeter Road intersection, including the tract that Lantana Gardens occupies. Comment on this story

Town requires permit for peddlers
Copper Canyon officials want to remind residents that solicitors need a permit to peddle. Unauthorized solicitors were recently spotted going door-to-door in the Chinn Chapel North subdivision and on Jernigan Road. Permits are conditioned upon several things, including a criminal background check, town officials said. Residents should request a copy of a permit before doing business with anyone going door-to-door. Non-profit organizations are exempt from the ordinance. If a resident has any questions or concerns about solicitors, they can call the Town Secretary at 940-241-2677. Comment on this story

Community wins industry awards
For the second time in three years, Lantana has won the the Community of the Year award from the Home Builders Association of Greater Dallas. The honor was announced at the McSAM Awards ceremony on April 8, 2006, at the Hotel InterContinental in Addison. Republic Property Group, the developer of Lantana, also won in the following categories:

-Best Development Logo
-Best B&W Newspaper Ad For a Developer
-Best Multimedia Piece For a Builder or Developer
-Best Sales Promotion for a Developer

In addition, the David Weekley model home in Larkspur took first place for the Best Interior Merchandising category with a sales price between $250,001 and $300,000. The McSAM Awards were created by the Home Builders Association of Greater Dallas in 1979 to recognize builders, developers and associates who have made a significant and creative contribution in residential marketing. Comment on this story

Internet provider speeds up service
Grande Communications has completed an upgrade of their DSL Internet service in Lantana. DSL download speeds have doubled from 1.5 Mbps to 3.0 Mbps at no additional cost. Customers should reboot their DSL modem to activate the upgrade. “We really wanted to do something to improve performance for our customers,” said Kelly Allison, Senior Manager of Retail Sales for Grande. A new competitive pricing plan has also gone into effect, saving customers $10 per month on the fastest tier of service. Grande currently has 954 DSL customers in Lantana. Comment on this story

Town declines access to street
Copper Canyon officials recently turned down a request by the developer of a proposed strip shopping center for access to Jernigan Rd. The shopping center is planned for FM 407 just west of the Flower Mound Animal Shelter. The developer asked the town for permission to access the retail center from Jernigan, and offered to widen Jernigan and add turn lanes at FM 407. However, Mayor Sue Tejml and Town Administrator Paulette Hartman advised against it, citing the effects that the traffic would have on the Estates of Copper Canyon subdivision. The architects have agreed to design a cul-de-sac turn around at the west end of the project instead and direct all traffic to FM 407. Comment on this story

Land swap relocates school sites
Republic Property Group is working with the Denton Independent School District and the Rayzor family to consolidate and relocate two school sites in Lantana. The land swap involves trading two parcels on Copper Canyon Rd. for a larger school site at the northern end of the community. The 45-acre campus on Hickory Hill Rd. would house both an elementary and middle school. Click here to see map. Lantana residents will be able to access the campus directly via Stacee Road, which intersects Lantana Trail next to the North Amenity Center.

“The new site will be better for Lantana and the district, and will help with traffic flow in the development,” said Rick Woolfolk, DISD Trustee. Woolfolk has worked with Lantana since its inception, helping to bring E.P. Rayzor Elementary School to Lantana two years earlier than originally planned. The land swap will allow both schools to be built simultaneously and most likely open at the same time, according to Teresa Carson of Republic Property Group. Carson said that the new schools may open as early as 2008. Comment on this story

Water conservation urged
Residents in Lantana and the surrounding area are urged to voluntarily reduce their water usage, after the Upper Trinity Regional Water District implemented Stage 1 of their Drought Contingency Plan. Officials suggest that residents and businesses avoid watering during peak demand times, between the hours of 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and during high winds. The Upper Trinity Regional Water District pumps water to 21 cities and towns, one utility authority, and three special districts. Comment on this story

FM 407 to get turn lane
Drivers heading south on FM 407 will soon have help accessing E.P. Rayzor Elementary School in Lantana. TxDOT has approved plans to add a left-turn lane to southbound FM 407 at Rayzor Road, according to Lantana officials. The new lane will ease traffic coming from Argyle and other areas north and west of Lantana in morning drive. Work on the improvements should begin by summer 2006. Comment on this story

Lantana leads local growth rate
Denton County’s population grew 3.3% during the past year, according to new data from the North Central Texas Council of Governments. Meanwhile, Lantana did almost seven times better. Nearly 700 people moved into the development last year. Here are the population estimates for the area, as of Jan. 1, 2006:   Estimated Population Growth Rate
Argyle 3,050 5.2%
Bartonville 1,300 4.0%
Copper Canyon 1,350 3.8%
Denton (city) 100,950 3.2%
Double Oak 2,500 0.0%
Flower Mound 61,550 1.7%
Highland Village 14,450 2.1%
Lantana 3,800 21.8%
Denton County 578,500 3.3%
Information from the North Central Texas Council of Governments, except Lantana estimate.
Comment on this story
Website racks up more visitors
LantanaLinks.com continues its growth spurt, according to website owner Max Miller. “LantanaLinks.com has grown rapidly since our humble beginnings in late 2003,” Miller said. “Page views and the number of unique users continue to increase each month,” Miller said. The site recorded nearly 60,000 page views in March 2006, a 14% increase year to date, and unique visitors are up 35%. Miller, who is running for a board seat in Lantana’s Fresh Water District #6 this May, credits much of his success from the relationships he has developed with area residents, municipal leaders and business owners. Comment on this story

Mall boasts impress lineup
Leasing agents have been busy securing commitments from upscale retailers and restaurants for a $95 million open-air mall being built two miles from Lantana. The 385,000 square-foot Shops at Highland Village, at the northwest corner of FM 407 and FM 2499, will resemble Southlake Town Square. Here is a preliminary tenant list:
Aéropostale Houlihan’s Restaurant
AMC Theaters James Avery Jewelry
American Eagle Jos. A Bank
Ann Taylor Kay Jewelers
Ann Taylor Loft Lenscrafters
Aveda Limited Too
Banana Republic Luna De Noche Grill
Barnes & Noble Mark Samuels
Bath & Body Works New York & Company
Ben & Jerry’s Omaha Steaks
Bravo Restaurant Pac Sun
Bright Start Potbelly Sandwiches
Chico’s Rockfish Grill
Children’s Place Ruby
Claire’s Shoe Pavilion
Club Monaco Soma
Coldwater Creek Sprint/Nextel
Coldwater Creek Spa Starbucks
Delia’s Sunglass Hut
Eddie Bauer Talbot’s
Francesca’s Collections Victoria’s Secret
Fuddruckers Williams Sonoma
Source: UCR Urban website

Demolition of the existing buildings on the 45-acre property is wrapping up. Comment on this story

Town troubled by sign swiping
Copper Canyon officials are concerned about the defacing and thefts of road signs in their town. Not only is traffic safety compromised by the theft of stop signs, but personal liability issues can occur as well. “Two teenaged boys were held responsible in Florida a few years back for negligent homicide after a person was killed in a auto accident resulting from a missing stop sign,” said a town official. The boys had stolen the stop sign as a prank. To report missing signs, or the whereabouts of stolen signs, call Town Hall at 940-241-2677. Comment on this story

Golf cart friendly neighborhood planned
There will be a lot of folks puttering around in a new neighborhood under development in Lantana. Each home in the Wimberley subdivision will have a golf cart garage, according to Republic Property Group. Residents will be able to make the short drive in a golf cart from their homes to the Lantana Golf Club. The neighborhood will feature 59 patio homes built by Highland Homes on 52 foot lots. Wimberley will be developed on the east side of Lantana Trail near Lantana golf course hole number 10. Comment on this story

Fast food chain coming to 407
The golden arches will soon cast their shadow on our area. A McDonald’s restaurant is filling the last remaining lot at the Highlands of Flower Mound shopping center at FM 407 and FM 2499. The fast-food retailer will sit next to Wolf Camera, facing FM 407. There are now more than 30,000 McDonald’s restaurants in 119 countries around the world. Comment on this story

District 7 maintains status quo
There will be no hanging chads this May in Lantana Fresh Water District 7. Board members Mike Shaw and Ron Bramhall will continue to serve for another four years. No one from the sparsely populated area filed to challenge the incumbents. District 7 covers phase 3 of the Magnolia section, the new Isabel neighborhood and other yet-to-be-developed areas. There are only about 19 eligible residents living in the district. Comment on this story

Mayor credits website for success
Argyle Mayor Richard Tucker had this to say about LantanaLinks.com in the wake of the town’s successful 2006 Bluegrass Festival: “The Town of Argyle and the Argyle Chamber of Commerce just completed their 3rd Annual Bluegrass Festival. This year was the most successful by far in terms of attendance, ticket sales and community participation. We advertised throughout the Southwest and in national publications. Lantana has been a sponsor each of the first three years, and for the first time this year, we also had coverage by LantanaLinks.com. We believe that our increased community participation is due, in part, to the fine coverage that we received from Max Miller and LantanaLinks.com. Many of the area attendees commented to us that they heard about the Festival from LantanaLinks.com and came because of the extensive coverage we received. We want to thank Max for his enthusiastic coverage of our Festival and look forward to working with him again next year. From our standpoint, LantanaLinks.com is a most valuable addition to the information network in our area.” Comment on this story

Resident reports coyote attack
A Lantana resident said her cat was attacked by coyotes on the evening of Sunday, April 2, 2006. Kimberly Quinn of Carlisle said the wild dogs killed her cat on their front lawn, just a few feet from the front door. “My cat was coming home and almost there when they got him,” Quinn said. “I had been calling him for some time, and at one point when I called him, I saw them take off with him and heard his collar jingle. Needless to say, we are devastated over this.” Quinn suspects that the coyotes may have come from the area that is being clearing on Lantana Trail for the new Wimberley neighborhood. Although coyotes are a threat to domestic pets, they do not typically harm humans, authorities said. Animal control agents advise pet owners to supervise their pets at all times and secure pets indoors at night. Comment on this story

Community Room opens
Lantana residents now have a meeting and banquet space. The new North Amenity Center on Lantana Trail has a Community Room, which is available for rent to residents in good standing with the Lantana Community Association. A non-refundable rental fee of $125 for the first two hours, $50 for each additional hour, and a refundable security deposit of $300 is required to lease the facility. Call 940-728-1660 for more information. Comment on this story

Developer announces builders
Republic Development recently announced that Newport Homebuilders will join Highland Homes in Meridian Phase 2. The new section will have 17 ninety-foot lots. Completion of the roads and utilities is scheduled for May. Newport also builds in Lantana’s Sierra neighborhood. Republic officials also said that Dallas-based Newcastle Homes will build in the new Bellaire neighborhood, along with Huntington Homes. Bellaire will feature 62 ninety-foot lots, and should be open by October. Comment on this story

AVFD reviews ’05 stats
The Argyle Volunteer Fire District responded to 860 calls for service in 2005, according to Argyle Fire Chief Mac Hohenberger. The average response time was 6 minutes. Almost half of the calls were for medical emergencies. Between emergency calls and training, volunteers contributed a total of 18,127 hours to the district last year. “In order to provide the same coverage with full time personnel, it would require 36 full time personnel, with 12 working on each shift,” said Hohenberger. “As you can see, the volunteers of our district provide a significant cost saving to the fire district.” The Argyle Volunteer Fire District is responsible for providing fire, rescue and emergency medical services for Lantana, Argyle, Bartonville, Copper Canyon, Corral City and Northlake, as well as parts of unincorporated Denton County. Comment on this story

Lantana developer strikes back
Rick Strauss, Chairman/CEO of Republic Property Group and Kevin Mercer, Lantana Fresh Water District General Manager, responded to a biting editorial about Lantana that appeared in a recent issue of The News Connection newspaper.

Strauss refuted claims by the newspaper that his employees sit on the district’s board of directors and that the district refused to publicize meetings and elections. “Not a single member of the governing board (District 6 or 7) is an employee of Republic Property Group,” Strauss said. “Developers, as a practical matter, have to prevail on business associates to fill these seats until residents are in place and willing to run for these positions.”

Regarding the posting of public meetings, Strauss said that the district has always posted public notices in the required places and he is in the process of building informational kiosks in the Lantana amenity centers. Read the letter here.  Comment on this story

District dealing with billing blunder
Lantana residents were doing a double take when they received their March 2006 water/sewer/garbage bill. A billing error, blamed on a new computer system, added $75 and late fees to a majority of the bills. The oversight has kept the phones ringing at the district’s billing office. Over 300 concerned residents have called as of Friday, according to a spokesperson. Residents can call 866-804-3656 to obtain the correct amount for this billing period. Comment on this story

District informational meeting held
A handful of Lantana residents turned out on March 6, 2006, to learn more about the publicly elected governing body that oversees the development. Kevin Mercer, Lantana Fresh Water Supply District General Manager, and Clay Crawford, District Legal Counsel, discussed the history and structure of the district and the open board positions with 12 residents at the new North Amenity Center meeting room.
Special taxing districts like Lantana are formed to bring water and sewer service, along with other infrastructure, to undeveloped areas, Mercer explained. Bonds are issued to fund the infrastructure. Lantana’s tax rate of $1.00 per $100 of assessed value is in line with other Fresh Water Districts in North Texas, Crawford said. He added that no new bonds will be issued that would cause the tax rate to increase. Eventually, Lantana’s tax rate will drop as the bonds are paid off, which may be in the next 15 to 20 years. Click here to see the handout that was distributed at the meeting.

Crawford and Mercer answered questions about the upcoming board elections in May. For more information about the Lantana Fresh Water District, call Mercer at 940-728-5050. Comment on this story

Lantana house fire caught on tape
The Double Oak Volunteer Fire Department has video and audio documentation of Lantana’s first house fire. The blaze occurred on Thorne Drive in the Sonora addition on the morning of February 20, 2006. Firefighters from Argyle, Double Oak and Flower Mound responded to reports of heavy black smoke coming from the garage. The firefighters had to cut open a garage door with a chainsaw to extinguish the blaze. Click here to see the video. There were no injuries, and the fire was contained inside the garage. Comment on this story

Million dollar home almost ready
Crews are putting the finishing touches on a $1.2 million model home being built in Lantana. New Haven Homes is constructing the three-story, 6,000 square foot home on Wagner Way in the Laviana addition. The home also has 1,600 square feet of unfinished space, 2,000 square feet of balconies and patios overlooking the golf course, and a four-car garage. Laviana is Lantana’s ritziest neighborhood, with new homes priced from $700,000. The average pre-existing home in Lantana sold for $313,607 last year. Comment on this story

HOA passes record inspection rules
As the community grows, more people become interested in the goings-on of the homeowner’s association. The Lantana Community Association recently adopted guidelines for residents to follow when they want to review the Association’s records. The regulations spell out items such as the lead time required to request documents and the costs involved in obtaining copies of records. See the board’s resolution here. Republic Property Group, the developer of Lantana, currently oversees the homeowner’s association. Comment on this story

Newspapers get all treed up
The paparazzi descended on Lantana recently, as two local newspapers wrote about the unique government structure of the development. The sudden interest in the “Tree of Knowledge” is old news to regular LantanaLinks.com visitors. “I wrote about that tree last summer, after finding out about it from a fellow resident while attending a birthday party in Lantana,” said Max Miller, owner of LantanaLinks.com. “It was an eye-opener, but it also opened more dialog between us and the Lantana Fresh Water District, which ultimately benefits the residents.” Comment on this story

Lantana official responds to newspaper article
Kevin Mercer, Lantana Fresh Water District General Manager, publicly responded to a newspaper article critical of Lantana that was published in the News Connection on Feb. 17, 2005. The article focused on the policies and structure of the Fresh Water District, Lantana’s tax rate, and the semi-famous “Tree of Knowledge”.

Mercer took issue with some of the information in the article, and said that the newspaper reporter did not make an attempt to speak with board members or attend a District meeting. Read Mercer’s rebuttal here. “The irony of this whole thing is that the News Connection newspaper is owned by a Lantana resident,” said Max Miller, owner of LantanaLinks.com. Lantana resident Shane Allen bought the weekly newspaper a couple of years ago. Comment on this story

Residents admire new pool, gym
Lantana residents braved the cold on February 18, 2006, to celebrate the opening of their newest attraction. The North Amenity Center on Lantana Trail opened its doors to the public for the first time. Members of the Lantana Community Association, along with Lantana’s new tennis pros, group fitness instructors and personal trainers were on hand to meet residents and show off the new facility. The center features a fully-equipped gym, community room for resident functions, a junior Olympic-size pool with a separate kiddie pool, a playground, and an open-air pavilion with barbeque grills and picnic tables. The developer of Lantana has invested over $200 million into the master-planned community, according to Mark Wagner, President of Republic Property Group. Comment on this story

Board continues tax exemption ban
The Lantana Board of Directors voted to continue a moratorium on Fresh Water District property tax exemptions at their February 2006 meeting. Each year, the board considers granting homestead exemptions on the one-percent tax rate charged by the district. Since Lantana has little retail taxes to make up the shortfall, officials decided to extend the moratorium for another year. Residents are eligible for some exemptions on the Denton County and Denton ISD portions of their property taxes. Comment on this story

New fire station still being considered
Officials from the Argyle Volunteer Fire District are still hammering out the details of a proposed fire station with the developer of Lantana. Last year, Republic Development offered to donate two acres on Copper Canyon Rd. for the facility. In return, the developer requested that the district build a limited access road to connect Golf Club Drive in Lantana to the new fire station, according to public documents from the Fire District. Republic also asked that the new station be manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and house a small storefront office for the County Sheriff. Other requests from the developer include an ambulance and new fire engine to be housed at the station, “Lantana” added to all fire apparatus vehicles, and the project to be given priority over any other new stations. The Fire District holds their regular monthly meetings on the fourth Thursday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at Bartonville Town Hall, 1941 E. Jeter Rd. Call 940-464-7102 for more information. Comment on this story

Survey looks at master-planned communities
Residents from Lantana and 14 other North Texas master-planned communities recently took part in a random survey conducted by Dallas-based Residential Strategies. The study focused on the characteristics and perceptions of the top selling master-planned communities in DFW. Here is how Lantana stacked up against the competition:

The average home value of respondents from Lantana was $283,360, with an average size of 3,365 square feet. The Castle Hills community had the highest average value in Denton County, at $464,154. The average Denton County home located in a master-planned community was valued at $260,816.

When looking at the values on a per square foot basis, Lantana’s average of $84.21 was slightly below the overall average of $85.83. Castle Hills took the top spot for Denton County, at $115.98 per square foot, while Providence was at the bottom of the list, at $70.81. The survey found that homes located in communities that were financed by special taxing districts like Lantana were valued at nearly $100,000 less, on average, than those that are not.

Although Lantana had the highest average annual homeowner’s dues of the communities studied, 84% of residents felt that the fees were justified when considering the level of amenities and services provided. On average, the annual HOA dues in the communities surveyed were $596, or about $50 per month. The three most popular amenities, chosen by respondents as a whole, were a jogging trail/bike path, neighborhood parks and a community center.

Lantana residents felt that their home would be worth 8% less if it were located in a standard subdivision without the amenities of a master-planned community. The average premium from all of the respondents was 12%.

Out of all the master-planned communities, the average adult male was 42 years old, the average female was 40, and the median household income was $102,900. Providence and Savannah, located in northeastern Denton County, had the youngest head of households, on average. Comment on this story

Camp staying put for now
The campground based next to Lantana will stay in its current location for the next four years. Camp Summit, a retreat for persons with special needs located near FM 407 and Copper Canyon Rd., has signed a lease with the new owner of the property. The non-profit organization has purchased land in Montague County for a new campsite. “Our plan is to continue raising money over the next three years and then start building, so we are in our new home by late 2010,” said Executive Director Carla Weiland. The 117-acre property was purchased by David Pearson, a Bartonville-based developer. The land is located in the Copper Canyon extraterritorial jurisdiction. Camp Summit has operated in the same location since 1957. Lantana surrounds three sides of the campground. Comment on this story

Lantana Government Focus Group holds first meeting
A small group of Lantana residents gathered on Feb. 8, 2006, to learn more about the two Fresh Water Supply Districts that govern the development. The meeting was hosted by Denton County Justice of the Peace candidate Adrian Weaver. In attendance was Kevin Mercer, Lantana General Manager, who fielded questions ranging from the tax rate to the upcoming May election. Weaver reviewed a Q & A that he had sent to District officials.

Residents were told that 90.5% of the current $1.00 District tax rate is being used to pay back bonds that had been issued over the past six years. The bonds are only issued for public projects, like roads, water and sewage improvements, Mercer said. The developer funded the golf club, pools and community centers.

It was also learned that Lantana residents will have a chance to run for public office this May, as at least two of the five board positions in both District 6 and 7 will be up for grabs. Past elections have been cancelled due to no one applying for a place on the ballot. The current board of directors has been serving since the community was established in May 2000.

Mercer also answered questions about future neighborhoods in Lantana and estimated that the development would be fully built out in about 10 years. For more information, or to take part in future meetings, contact Adrian Weaver.  Comment on this story

District grants raises
Lantana Fresh Water District employees started out 2006 with a little more jingle in their pockets. The Board of Directors recently approved a 5% raise and a 10% annual bonus for each District employee. The increases and bonuses were previously approved in the District’s annual budget, according to Kevin Mercer, Lantana General Manager. The Fresh Water District is the publicly elected governing body that oversees the Lantana development. Comment on this story

Town looks at limits
Argyle residents can take advantage of a new state law which regulates speeds and the placement of signs on residential streets without the expense of a traffic and engineering study. Mayor Richard Tucker and the town’s police department are encouraging resident input to make neighborhood streets safer. Residents can present a petition to the police department requesting that the town lower the speed limit on their neighborhood street to 25 m.p.h. A minimum number of signatures is not required. Streets that are classified as arterial, collectors or other heavily traveled roads are not eligible. Call 940-464-7254 for more information. Comment on this story

Developer planning new section
Azalea will be blooming this spring in Lantana, as construction is scheduled to begin on a new neighborhood named after the colorful shrub. Highland Homes has signed on to build in Azalea, located on a 25-acre tract west of the new amenity center. The subdivision will feature homes on 80-foot lots. Azalea will be Lantana’s 21st neighborhood. Comment on this story

Dog tags now mandatory in town
At their January meeting, the Copper Canyon town council passed an ordinance requiring dogs to wear both I.D. tags and current rabies vaccinations tags. During the next 90 days, Animal Control Officer Brian Hall will hand out warnings to residents who don’t comply with the new ordinance. Hall said that one of the catalysts for the rabies tags were the presence of rabid skunks spotted in the area during the past year. Officials also said that the town’s rural setting is commonly used as a dumping ground for abandoned dogs. Call 940-241-2677 for more information. Comment on this story

Lantana HOA to participate on Message Board
To foster better communication with residents, Bruce Crawford, Lantana Community Association Manager, will be available to address questions and concerns about the neighborhood on the LantanaLinks.com Forum. The partnership came about after a recent meeting between the LCA and Max Miller, a Lantana resident and owner of LantanaLinks.com. Mark Wagner, President of Republic Development, suggested that the homeowner’s association take an active role in the Forum to resolve misinformation about issues that may be of a concern to the community. Miller is glad to see more interaction with community leaders. “I look forward to working with Bruce and the LCA to keep the lines of communication open in our great community,” Miller said. Comment on this story

Area home sales analyzed
The average pre-existing home in Lantana sold for $313,607 in 2005, according to Lantana resident and Realtor Dave Lucas of Coldwell Banker NCS. Homes in the master-planned community sold for an average of $94.19 per square foot. Properties typically sat on the market for 80 days, not much more than the North Texas average of 71 days. The data is based on 55 sales of existing homes in Lantana last year from the North Texas Real Estate Information System MLS. The neighborhood where you can get the most house for your money was Navarro, where the price per square foot was $78.35. Telea was the priciest, at $120.32 per square foot. Compared to the rest of the country, Lantana is a steal. Nationally, the price per square foot of a single-family home is around $140. Click here for home sales information for Lantana, Argyle, Bartonville and Double Oak. Comment on this story

Shopping center, bank coming to area
More retail is on tap for the booming FM 2499 corridor in northern Flower Mound. Transwestern Commercial Services is developing a 21,000 square foot strip shopping center and a 6,500 square foot office condo project on five acres at the southeast corner of Dixon Lane and FM 2499. The center, called Arbor Crossing, will have a Guaranty Bank and other neighborhood retail shops. Comment on this story

Golf club adds members
Whether it’s for business, social, or recreational pursuits, memberships at the Lantana Golf Club have been steadily increasing. Almost two and a half years into its membership drive, the semi-private club now has 270 members, and plans to become a fully private facility as soon as it reaches the 500 mark. Lantana residents make up 71% of the current membership. The club will be hosting a series of receptions for each neighborhood in Lantana to encourage residents to join, according to Michelle Schwolert, Membership Sales Director. The Lantana neighborhood that has the highest percentage of members is Meridian. The course, designed by architects Jay and Carter Morrish, opened for play in June 2002. Comment on this story

District budget on the web
Lantana residents can see where their tax dollars are going by visiting the Lantana Government Center on LantanaLinks.com. The current operating budgets for both Lantana Fresh Water Districts have been posted. District 6 covers most of the currently developed areas of Lantana, while District 7 consists of phase 3 of the Magnolia section, the new Isabel neighborhood and other undeveloped areas north of Heritage. Comment on this story

Trash collection fees to increase
Lantana residents will pay more for garbage collection. The Lantana Fresh Water Supply District Board of Directors voted to raise the residential trash rate from $15 to $16 per month, effective March 2006. Citing increasing fuel costs, Waste Management adjusted their wholesale rate to the district from $11.75 to $12.54 per month on Jan. 1. The increase was based on consumer price index information provided by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics and is permitted in accordance with the district’s agreement with Waste Management. One resident, Adrian Weaver, spoke out against the increase. This is the first rate increase since Lantana was established in 2001. Lantana’s trash removal contract with Waste Management expires in 2007. Comment on this story

Water main to require more repairs
While making emergency repairs to a 24-inch water main on Jan. 16, 2006, Lantana General Manager Kevin Mercer noticed additional cracks in the outer layer of the pipe. The cracks will be repaired, along with a faulty shut off valve, by the end of February 2006. An additional shut off valve will be added to minimize future water service disruptions if another leak is discovered, Mercer said. Comment on this story

Police calls increase with area’s growth
As the population of Lantana increases, so do visits from the Denton County Sheriff’s office. Calls to 911 increased 50% in the development in 2005, according to police data. Authorities responded to 661 calls for service from the development, compared to 442 in 2004. Audible alarms, including many from builder’s model homes scattered throughout the community, accounted for well over half of all runs. See the police call data here. The population of Lantana is estimated to be around 3,611, according to the Lantana Community Association. Comment on this story

Water main break affects neighborhood
A major water main break at the Lantana pump station left many residents high and dry on Jan. 16, 2006. The incident knocked out water service for about seven hours while emergency repairs were being made. The outage also affected the Lantana Grill, which closed for lunch. Calls from concerned residents, many who had the day off for the Martin Luther King holiday, poured into the Lantana Community Manager’s office, Visitor’s Center and Fresh Water District office throughout the day. The 24-inch water main break was caused by cracks that developed in the outer layer of the pipe, according to Kevin Mercer, Lantana General Manager. Water service was fully restored by 6 p.m. Comment on this story
HV approves final subdivision
The Highland Village City Council has approved plans for a subdivision on the last piece of residentially-zoned land within the city limits. Chapel Springs Estates will have 121 lots on 37 acres between the Chapel Hill subdivision and Chinn Chapel Road. The developer, along with the city and county, agreed to share in the expense to extend Harlington Drive through the subdivision to Chinn Chapel Road. Comment on this story

Wal-Mart site ready for takeoff
Construction is underway on the area’s first Wal-Mart Supercenter. Tree clearing, building demolition and grading are in the final stages at the site of the Marketplace at Highland Village, located at the northeast corner of FM 407 and FM 2499. The 450,000-square-foot retail center will be anchored by a 203,000-square-foot Wal-Mart Super Center. Other tenants include Office Depot, LA Fitness, TJ Maxx, HomeGoods, Citibank, Hibernia Bank, Ritzy’s Restaurant, Steak n Shake and Applebee’s, according to the leasing company’s website. See the site plans here. “This will be the largest commercial real estate development in Highland Village to date,” said Steve Chilton, Opus West’s director of real estate development for Dallas. Dallas-based architecture firm O’Brien & Associates is designing the center in a hill country ranch theme, utilizing limestone, galvanized aluminum and brick. Completion is scheduled for October 2006. Comment on this story

Lantana budget online
How much does it cost the Lantana Community Association to run the affairs of the development? Try over $2 million per year. That’s the grand total of expenses listed in the homeowners association’s 2006 budget. Some of the items include: $970,336 in landscape maintenance for the common areas and front yards, $394,609 to subsidize cable TV and security services to homeowners, $229,946 for payroll and management fees and $2,100 for the association’s website. See the 2006 budget here. With expected revenue of $1.9 million, Republic Property Group is covering the $284,383 shortfall, as they have in years past. Comment on this story

Bellaire breaks ground

 

Work has begun on the Bellaire neighborhood on Branch Crossing in Lantana. The new section will feature 62 ninety-foot lots built by Huntington Homes, many with views of the golf course. Completion of the neighborhood is expected by September 2006. Comment on this story

District plans new building
Kevin Mercer, Lantana Fresh Water District General Manager, recently presented preliminary plans for a 5,000 to 6,000 square-foot building to house the district’s offices. The one-story building, to be constructed next to the Lantana Visitor’s Center, will contain office and meeting space for district officials, Republic Development and the Lantana Community Association. The building is estimated to cost between $600 and $900 thousand. Completion is planned for late 2006. The district temporarily relocated their office last November from Branch Crossing to a 2,758 square-foot space in Bartonville Town Center. Comment on this story

School report available
The Academic Excellence Indicator System report for the Denton ISD has been published. The report pulls together a wide range of information on the performance of students in the district each year. Some of the performance indicators include standardized test results, attendance and dropout rates. The report also provides extensive information on school and district staff, finances, programs and student demographics. Click here to view the report. Comment on this story

Department stores headline new shopping center
The developer responsible for luring SuperTarget, Lowes and a gaggle of other stores and restaurants to the area is assembling retailers for their third shopping center on FM 2499. Dallas-based Direct Development is finalizing agreements with J.C. Penney and Belk department stores to anchor a 462,000 square-foot shopping center on the southwest corner of FM 2499 and Dixon Lane, just south of SuperTarget. The yet-to-be-named shopping center will feature retailers focusing on “soft goods”, such as clothing and accessories, home textiles and furnishings, according to company officials. Comment on this story

And the winners are…
Congratulations to Lori Downs of Crescent in Lantana who won an Apple iPod in December 2005 from LantanaLinks.com!

Five runner-ups won their choice of a LantanaLinks.com Polo Shirt or Baseball Cap: Laura Bohannon, Tony Collins, Nick Johnson, Kim Mungiguerra and Samuel Nava. Thanks to everyone who entered our contest! Comment on this story

School rezoning passed
Denton school officials approved new attendance zones for elementary and middle schools at their meeting on December 13, 2005. The board had tabled the changes in November due to an imbalance of disadvantaged students at certain schools. Instead of revising the previously recommended zoning, the board will give the affected schools more resources. “We will add some money to the schools with high low socio-economic numbers to cut down class size,” said Rick Woolfolk, DISD Trustee. The redistricting is needed to accommodate Savannah Elementary School and Navo Middle School, set to open in the U.S. 380 corridor next fall. Comment on this story

City grants incentive agreement
The Highland Village City Council approved an incentive agreement with Regency Centers to reimburse the developer some of the costs associated with a proposed $95 million upscale shopping center on the northwest corner of FM 407 and FM 2499. City officials approved a Chapter 380 Economic Development Program and Agreement with a value of $8.4 million. The ten-year agreement includes the opportunity for a five-year extension for a present value of $2.3 million based on the development’s performance. “Our participation with Regency Centers helps balance the cost of such things as demolition of the current buildings, the cost of the land and the public works infrastructure,” said City Manager Michael Leavitt. The Shops at Highland Village is proposed to include a Barnes and Noble, an entertainment feature, along with fountain areas, community gathering points, outdoor seating, and jogging and biking trails connecting to the City’s Inland Trail system. Regency Centers estimates the development will generate approximately $2 million to the city annually from a combination of real property tax, personal property tax, sales tax and the 4B sales tax. The Council also approved the preliminary plat submitted by Regency Centers for the 385,000 square feet mixed-use development. Comment on this story

Stoplight now regulates traffic at FM 407 & Lantana Trail
Ready, set, stop. The long-awaited traffic signal at Lantana Trail and FM 407 became fully operational on Dec. 6, 2005. To ease the morning rush hour, there will be two left-turn lanes on southbound Lantana Trail. Denton County Commissioners approved the signal in February, with funding provided by Republic Property Group, the developer of Lantana. Comment on this story

Happy Birthday to us!
December 2005 marked the two-year anniversary of the launch of LantanaLinks.com. Max Miller, owner of LantanaLinks.com, is impressed by the growth of the community-focused website. Traffic this year has doubled, while advertising revenue has quadrupled. “I am constantly amazed at the number of people who find LantanaLinks.com and visit the site on a daily basis, and I am grateful for all of the support we receive from the community and local businesses,” Miller said. A Lantana resident since 2002, Miller added that the site provides a much needed public service to residents of Lantana and the surrounding community. Future plans for the website include continuing to improve the content and launching an aggressive marketing campaign. Comment on this story

Holidays can be crime time
As Argyle police investigate a residential burglary that occurred recently in the 100 block of Frenchtown Road, authorities are reminding residents to follow crime prevention procedures around their home. Keeping holiday presents away from windows, using outside lights, locking doors and windows, and keeping the garage door closed are basic deterrents to foil would-be criminals. Click here for more residential crime prevention tips. Comment on this story

Evacuees scattered throughout county
Denton County is still home to over 1,800 Hurricane Katrina evacuees, according to data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. As of late November, nine evacuees were residing in Lantana, while Argyle was hosting 22, Double Oak had four, and one evacuee was staying in Bartonville. The city of Lewisville topped the list in the area, with 709 evacuees. To update their address with FEMA, evacuees should call 800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585. Comment on this story

District office relocates
The Lantana Fresh Water District office on Branch Crossing has moved to make way for a new neighborhood. The district recently relocated their office to Bartonville Town Center on FM 407 until a permanent office is built. District officials are planning to build a 5,000 square-foot office building next to the Lantana Visitor’s Center by late 2006. The district office’s new address is 2652 FM 407 E., Suite 215. Comment on this story

Doug Key Memorial Fund established
The Denton Public School Foundation has established a memorial fund to honor the late Doug Key, who was the first principal of E.P. Rayzor Elementary School in Lantana. Key, an educator for the Denton Independent School District for 33 years, died in July 2005 after a lengthy battle with cancer. Each year, a $500 scholarship or grant will be given in Key’s name to a student or teacher in the district. The endowment requires a principal amount of $10,000 in order to maintain the fund. To make a donation, contact E.P. Rayzor Elementary at 940-369-4100. Comment on this story

Upscale mall drops names
The proposed upscale shopping center at the northwest corner of FM 407 and FM 2499 will feature some recognized stores and restaurants. AMC Theaters, American Eagle, Banana Republic, Barnes & Noble, Chico’s, Coldwater Creek, Gap, la Madeline, PF Chang’s China Bistro, Snuffer’s Restaurant and Bar, Starbucks, Talbot’s, and Victoria’s Secret are some of the names being dropped. The architectural theme is Texas Hill Country and the site plan provides for a central gathering spot and a street plan, with fountains, outdoor seating, and jogging and biking trails connecting to the city’s Inland Trail system. Storefronts will have awnings, trellises and canopies, many of which will have misters and ceiling fans. Construction on the $95 million project is expected to begin next year. Comment on this story

H.O.A. bars website from event
LantanaLinks.com was notified on Oct. 14, 2005 that they are not allowed to participate in the Holiday Bazaar in early December, sponsored by the Lantana Homeowner’s Association. The Lantana H.O.A. consists of three employees of Republic Property Group, the company that is developing the community. “We have always worked with the developer, and go out of our way to be fair and balanced,” said Max Miller, owner of LantanaLinks.com. “LantanaLinks.com will continue to serve as a valuable resident-focused resource to this community, despite the efforts of a select few that currently control the neighborhood,” Miller added. Comment on this story

Mercer named officer to water district
Lantana now has a higher profile when dealing with local water issues. Kevin Mercer, Lantana General Manager, was recently named Secretary of the Upper Trinity Regional Water District. Mercer, a Lantana resident, has served on the board for the past three years. The Upper Trinity Regional Water District is currently involved in a battle with the town of Flower Mound over the town’s objection to a proposed reservoir. Comment on this story

Widening a long way down the road
The long-awaited widening of FM 407 near Lantana is still years away from completion, according to TxDOT officials. The $12-million dollar project, to take FM 407 from an existing two-lane road to a curbed four-lane divided highway between Briarhill Blvd. and FM 1830, has an estimated completion date of January 2009. Construction on the first section, between Briarhill and Chinn Chapel, is expected to begin in February 2007. The project will follow the existing route except at Lantana and near FM 1830, where curves will be added to improve traffic flow. Comment on this story

Fire district improves rating
Homeowners in Lantana and the surrounding area served by the Argyle Volunteer Fire District should get a break on their insurance rates. After rigorous inspections by the Insurance Services Organization, the district had their fire insurance rating lowered from a 7 to a 4. The ISO grading scale ranges from 1 to 10, with 1 being the best and 10 meaning no fire protection. Insurance ratings for homeowners are based on a fire district’s water supply, equipment, manpower, training, and the mutual aid available to a district from other departments. Lantana residents will save around $100 per year on their homeowner’s insurance, according to the Lantana Owner’s Association. Meanwhile, Highland Village’s ISO rating improved from a 5 to a 2.  Comment on this story

Voters approve bond, Chapter 41 propositions
Lewisville Independent School District voters overwhelmingly approved all four propositions on Oct. 8, 2005 in the district’s School Bond and Chapter 41 election. The $199,505,999 school bond package was split into two propositions. The first, which was approved with 88 percent support, will provide $169,145,000 for a new middle school, maintenance on existing facilities, site acquisitions, as well as additions and renovations to numerous schools. The $30,360,000 second proposition was approved with 87 percent support. It will provide additions and renovations in the areas of fine arts and athletics. Among the additions are new band halls, orchestra rooms, weight rooms and athletic storage. Voters also approved both Chapter 41 propositions by a wide margin. Lewisville ISD is projected to reach an enrollment of over 64,000 students by 2012. The district’s current enrollment is 47,271. Comment on this story

Fire district considering new tax
The Argyle Volunteer Fire District is discussing the creation of a special taxing district to help offset expenses related to serving the growing area. If approved by voters, the emergency fire district could levy taxes up to 10 cents per $100 of property valuation to areas that the organization serves. Fire Chief Mac Hohenberger said that the actual amount would likely be less than 10 cents. An election to create the taxing district may be held in 2006. The Argyle Volunteer Fire District is responsible for providing fire, rescue and emergency medical services for Lantana, Argyle, Bartonville, Copper Canyon, Corral City and Northlake, as well as parts of unincorporated Denton County. The board of directors meet on the fourth Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at Bartonville Town Hall. Comment on this story

New shopping center coming to I-35W
JCPenney and Sam Moon have signed on  for a new shopping center in the Alliance area. Construction has begun on the 300-acre Alliance Town Center, which is along the east side of I-35W between Heritage Trace Parkway and North Tarrant Parkway. The 98,000-square-foot JCPenney store will open in fall 2006. Ultimately, the town center will house more than two million square feet of retail, office, residential, and entertainment space, along with a medical campus, according to Hillwood Development. Comment on this story

School enrollment drops
E.P. Rayzor Elementary School in Lantana opened the 2005-2006 school year with 575 students, according to Denton I.S.D. officials. The preliminary enrollment figures are lower than last year’s total of 751 students, thanks to rezoning that occurred during the summer. Last year, the largest class at E.P. Rayzor was kindergarteners, who constituted 19% of the student body. Comment on this story

Police on the lookout for speeders
At the request of Lantana District officials, the Denton County Sheriff’s Department has stepped up their presence in the development to curb speeding. During the first week of school, 10 traffic tickets were issued and one arrest was made by Sheriff’s Deputies, according to Kevin Mercer, Lantana General Manager. The District is also working with contractors to make them more aware of the issue. The Lantana Board of Directors discussed speeding issues at their regular monthly meeting on Aug. 18 and said that they would continue to monitor the situation. Comment on this story
 

 

Timeline set for road improvements
Plans to widen FM 2181 (Teasley Lane) from two lanes to six lanes are progressing. The busy road, home of the new Guyer High School, is expected to be widened by fall 2009. Since FM 2181 is a state road, the Texas Department of Transportation is responsible for the widening project. However, the City of Denton and Denton County have contributed over $2.7 million to the project to expedite the process, according to local officials. Construction should begin in 2007. Comment on this story

School rankings released
The Texas Education Agency released the state accountability ratings for schools in southern Denton County. Each public school in Texas is rated annually by the TEA as Exemplary, Recognized, Academically Acceptable or Academically Unacceptable.

E.P. Rayzor Elementary in Lantana kept its rating of Recognized, based on the test results of the 2005 Texas Assessment of Academic Skills. Only one school in the Denton ISD, Borman Elementary, ranked as Academically Unacceptable. The Denton school district as a whole was rated Academically Acceptable. See the Denton campus accountability ratings here.

In the Lewisville Independent School District, nine schools were rated Exemplary, 30 were Recognized, 16 were Academically Acceptable and one school, DeLay Middle, received an Academically Unacceptable rating. The Lewisville district overall was rated Academically Acceptable. See the Lewisville rankings here.

All three schools in the Argyle ISD received a Recognized rating from the TEA. Comment on this story

Lantana middle school a few years away
“We are at least two to three years out, depending on growth patterns, before a new middle school is built in the southern part of the district”, said Gene Holloway, Director of Transportation/Planning for the Denton ISD. School officials are monitoring residential activity on a quarterly basis, Holloway added, during an interview in 2005. Lantana is located in the second fastest growing area in the school district, behind the bustling US 380 corridor. Land has been set aside in Lantana for a middle school and another elementary school to be built when warranted. Comment on this story

FM 2499 extension moves forward
Section 4 of the controversial FM 2499 extension project has cleared another hurdle. The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and the Federal Highway Administration have granted environmental approval to extend the road from FM 407 to FM 2181/Swisher Road. The 4.7 mile project is anticipated to let for construction in the first quarter of 2006. Comment on this story

Appraised values rise in area
Home values in Lantana grew by an average of 2.6 percent between 2004 and 2005, according to certified tax rolls from the Denton Central Appraisal District. The average home value in Lantana, also known as Denton County Fresh Water Districts #6 and #7, is $254,917, up from $248,252 last year. With 886 homes on the tax roles, the development’s total residential taxing value is $225,856,067. Here are the figures for other areas:
2004 2005 Percent
Argyle $216,830  $236,117  8.2%
Bartonville $263,851  $290,752  9.3%
Copper Canyon $256,340  $277,848  7.7%
Double Oak $267,201  $276,294  3.3%
Flower Mound $229,271  $236,190  2.9%
Highland Village $233,431  $242,635  3.8%
Lantana $248,252  $254,917  2.6%
Lewisville $134,160  $136,109  1.4%
Denton County $167,008 $173,083 3.5%

 

Association asks for parents cooperation
Due to safety and traffic concerns, the Lantana Owner’s Association is asking E.P. Rayzor parents to refrain from dropping off and picking up their children at the Lantana Visitor Center, Community Center, and Bradford St. in Camden. The L.O.A. said that the volume of traffic in the area creates a hazardous situation for pedestrians. E.P. Rayzor has implemented new drop off/pick up procedures this year, which they believe will alleviate some of the traffic congestion at the elementary school. Access between the school and Visitor Center may be restricted if the problem continues, according to the L.O.A. Comment on this story

Lantana makes top 10 list
Lantana is one of the fastest growing master-planned communities in the Metroplex, according to Residential Strategies. Between April 30, 2004 and March 31, 2005, Lantana reported 345 new home starts, taking third place in Denton County and ranking 10th overall in DFW. Providence took the top spot in Denton county, with 381 starts. The number one community in the Metroplex was the Villages of Woodland Springs in Keller, with 701 new home starts. Click here for the complete list. Comment on this story

Lantana tree gaining notoriety
A popular Dallas Blog site recently referred to Lantana. More specifically, D Magazine’s Front Burner website mentions the “Tree of Knowledge” on Lantana Trail, where the Fresh Water District posts their meeting agendas. The tree is located on the east side of Lantana Trail between Branch Crossing and Bonham Parkway. Comment on this story

Local family developing ranch land
The Rayzor family and Texas Land & Building Company are teaming up to market 400-acres at the intersection of I-35 and U.S. 380 in Denton. The partnership wants to create a master plan for the project that will include retail, office and medical space, as well as residential development. “The Rayzor family has a long history in Denton and we wanted this land to be developed in such a way that it would be a great addition to the community,” said Doug Elliott of Rayzor Family Interests. The plan is expected to be presented to the city of Denton for approval before the end of the year. The land that the Lantana development sits on was sold by the Rayzor family in 1999. Comment on this story

Here’s your sign…Developer defends directory
The new sign erected by Republic Development listing the home builders in  Lantana has been a source of heated debate by residents. Some homeowners have commented that the sign is not visually appealing and does not complement the upscale look of the community. “The intention of the builder sign is to provide logo and brand recognition for the outstanding builders of Lantana,” according to a published statement from the developer, speaking through Bruce Crawford, Lantana Community Manager. “Since Lantana does not allow any builder logo bandit signs along the roadways, this was a way of recognizing the builders in a consolidated location.” Crawford added that the sign is temporary, and will be removed after the marketing of Lantana is complete. The neighborhood is expected to be built out by 2011.  Comment on this story

Fire station planned for area
The Argyle Volunteer Fire District met on May 26, 2005 to discuss plans for a new fire station near Lantana. The new facility is needed to better serve Lantana, Copper Canyon and southern Bartonville, according to district officials. Republic Development has offered to donate two acres on Copper Canyon Road to the fire district for the facility. If built, officials estimate that the new fire station will be completed in 2008. The Argyle Volunteer Fire District is responsible for providing fire, rescue and emergency medical services for a roughly 82 square mile area, including Argyle, Lantana, Copper Canyon, Bartonville, Corral City, Northlake and portions of unincorporated Denton County. Comment on this story

Drilling task force releases report
The Denton County Oil & Gas Task Force released a report summarizing the findings of their year-long study into the exploration of natural gas reserves in the Barnett Shale. The task force investigated areas of cooperation between the county, residential developers and drilling companies. The Barnett Shale is the largest producing gas field in the state, covering 15 counties in North Texas. In 2004, there were 1,460 wells in Denton County with a total mineral revenue of $2,731,324. Read the full report here. Comment on this story

Road to nowhere complete
An extension of the main road through the Lantana development, capped off with a roundabout, has been completed. A 3,000-foot stretch of Lantana Trail is now open at the far north end of the community. The new section of roadway will provide access to the amenity center planned at North Lake and the newly-announced Isabel neighborhood. Lantana Trail ends at a traffic circle and will not directly connect to Copper Canyon Road, as previously proposed. Comment on this story

Master-planned communities fuel special taxing districts
The evolving popularity of large master-planned communities like Lantana is a major catalyst in the development of more special taxing districts in North Texas, according to developers and land planners. Phillip Huffines, developer of the fast-growing Providence and Savannah communities, said the new type of utility design has become necessary in order to fund the amenities and infrastructures that consumers want. Kathy Cunningham of Land Insight Inc. called the recent trend toward Special Districts as an “extreme makeover” of the North Central Texas housing market. “Special District master-planned communities went from a one percent share (87 new-home starts in 2001) to a 23 percent share of market (2,396 new-home starts last year), a significant impact,” she said. Comment on this story

Meeting minutes now available online
Lantana is located in a special taxing district with its own unique form of government. Two Fresh Water Supply Districts were established in 2000 to provide water, sewage, drainage and other infrastructure to the development. A publicly elected Board of Directors runs the district and sets the tax rate. Residents can review the approved minutes from the Fresh Water District Board meetings each month by clicking here. Comment on this story

Commuter rail route chosen
A proposed commuter rail line from Denton to Carrollton will run parallel to I-35E on an abandoned rail bed. The route was chosen by the Denton County Transportation Authority over the Kansas City Southern line, which passes just northeast of Lantana and runs through Copper Canyon and Highland Village. The $238 million commuter train service is estimated to begin running in 2011. Comment on this story

Development traffic counts released
Results from a traffic count survey in Lantana show just how busy the area has become. Over 15-thousand vehicles traveled through the intersection of Lantana Trail and FM 407 in a 24-hour period in January 2005. Of those, 2,414 vehicles exited at the south end of the development. The busiest times on Lantana Trail were 7:15 in the morning and 5:15 in the afternoon. The survey was conducted by Traffic Data of Texas, Inc. See the data for Lantana Trail here. Comment on this story

Fence sealing keeps elements at bay
With the continuous changes in weather conditions in North Texas, it is a good idea to take steps to maintain your wood fence. Experts recommend that you reseal your fence every two to three years. The process is relatively simple, but here are few suggestions: Make sure the fence is clear of dirt and debris before sealing; If wood is too hot to touch, it is too hot to stain; The ideal time to apply stain are in the morning hours or late afternoons; If moisture is visible, or it has rained recently, wait for the fence to thoroughly dry before sealing. The approved stain color for wood fences in Lantana is Ready Seal, Medium Red #020. Comment on this story

 

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